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English at Hillmorton Primary School

English at Hillmorton

Intent (Aims)


Our intent at Hillmorton Primary School is to provide children with a high-quality education in English that will teach our pupils to speak, read and write fluently so they can communicate their ideas effectively. English lessons are a cornerstone for the entire curriculum. At Hillmorton Primary School we aim for learners to regularly use and apply their skills in English across the whole of our broad and creative curriculum. We regularly revisit knowledge and skills acquired in English lessons in our wider curriculum so as children progress through our school, they know more, remember more and understand more.


Our creative curriculum is planned around half termly topics which begin with a memorable WOW day to engage and excite children. We are a CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) Power of Reading Associate School and we use high quality key texts as a stimulus for literacy lessons. Through our creative curriculum, children practice and develop their reading and writing in a range of challenging situations. They have the opportunity to write across the curriculum using and applying their knowledge of different genres. Our creative curriculum is designed to ensure national curriculum progression of skills are met as well as immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments. We aim for all children to speak, read and write fluently but also for our children to develop a love of reading and writing.


At Hillmorton Primary, we believe threshold concepts are the ingredients for what makes an effective reader or writer. These concepts are explored across the creative curriculum so children have the opportunity to revisit and embed these key concepts. They return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build an understanding of them, developing themselves as effective readers and writers. Our threshold concepts are outlined below:


Threshold Concepts for Reading

  • Read words accurately (involves decoding and fluency)

  • Understanding texts (literal and inferential)


Threshold Concepts for Writing


  • Write with purpose

  • Use description

  • Organise and structure writing appropriately

  • Use paragraphs

  • Use sentences appropriately


  • Use neat, correctly formed handwriting

  • Spell accurately

  • Punctuate accurately

Analysis and Presentation

  • Edit and improve

  • Present writing to others


There is clear progression set out through our curriculum planning for English. We recognise that learning is a change to long-term memory – the place where all knowledge is stored. Therefore our curriculum sets out the specific procedural and semantic knowledge children will need to develop their understanding of the threshold concepts as they progress through the school. Through this progression there is plenty of opportunity to revisit and reinforce learning so that children can develop their procedural fluency and semantic strength.


At Hillmorton Primary school we believe that cultural capital will give our children knowledge and experience which they require to become informed and thoughtful members of our community. When planning our English curriculum we incorporated the following cultural capital elements:


Vocabulary development

We recognise the importance of widening and deepening children’s vocabulary for academic success, future employment and wellbeing. We are developing a vocabulary spine within our curriculum to support the progression of children’s vocabulary as they move up through the school.


Text selection

We have developed our school reading spine to ensure our children experience a wide range of:

  • Archaic language

  • Non-linear sequenced texts

  • Narratively complex texts

  • Symbolic text

  • Resistant texts and poetry

  • Non-fiction texts


WOW experiences

When starting a topic we have a ‘WOW day’ to hook the children in. These can include cultural experiences such as education trips and visits e.g. museums, theatres and galleries, visitors, i.e. experts in certain fields, local community representatives and workshops around particular topics.


Knowledge of the world

Within our topics we ensure that content covered will widen children’s general knowledge and increase their awareness of current affairs. Our curriculum is ripe with spiritual, moral, social and cultural learning which aids our children in reaching their full potential and equips them to be successful citizens who can contribute positively to society and life in modern Britain. Hillmorton children develop an appreciation for democracy, English law, accountability, individual liberty, equality and tolerance. We plan for many opportunities for children to write around many different cultural themes and enjoy using texts which have social, cultural and moral themes within them.




These aims set out in our intent statement are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. Our creative curriculum provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion.


We use high quality children’s literature and creative teaching approaches from Power of Reading to deliver our English curriculum and to develop a whole school love of reading and writing. We strongly invest in upskilling teachers with relevant training - most of our teachers have been on Power of Reading training so staff have confidence to develop their use of high quality texts in their classroom during English lessons. They use Power of Reading teaching sequences and teaching strategies to support their planning and use the text in literacy lessons as a stimulus for writing. A range of genres are taught and is progressive through the school, resulting in children been exposed to, and knowledgeable about, a range of literary styles and authors. Children are given lots of opportunities to discuss and present their ideas verbally and to make presentations and participate in debates. We use a variety of teaching strategies from the Power of Reading to support children’s development in speaking and listening.


At Hillmorton each class has daily guided reading lesson where we focus on teaching and developing the key skills in reading from the National Curriculum and each lesson focuses on children developing a key reading skill. We use quality extracts from high quality texts so children have the opportunity to unpick the text and can use and apply their reading skills independently. Furthermore, we use RIC’s (Retrieval, Interpret and Choice) weekly in whole class guided reading in KS2 and in year 2. Children in year 1 complete these verbally. RIC starters are short tasks which help children to practise the most important reading skills. They require children to read, watch, observe or listen to a stimulus, and then answer some questions, helping children to develop their key skills in reading.


We teach dedicated spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons along with handwriting lessons. Punctuation and grammar objectives are covered within the literacy weekly plan and we teach a dedicated spelling lesson each week. Children have the opportunity to revisit and reinforce their understanding of key grammar terminology through retrieval based tasks each week. For spelling lessons we focus on learning a new spelling rule or patterns set out in the National Curriculum. In addition, children work towards their ‘Super Speller’ badges. To achieve these they must be able to spell words from the word lists from the English National Curriculum. Spelling tests sent home are mostly focusing on words which follow the rule/pattern taught and then children are also been given super speller and topic words to practice. We also use dictation resources (Rising Stars) to give children opportunities to practice their spellings in sentence level work.


Children have the opportunity to support their own learning in English independently using a wide variety of resources, such as dictionaries, thesauruses, word walls, individual word books and age/ability appropriate resources. Vocabulary development is promoted throughout the school, on displays, use of vocabulary mats, word books and accessible dictionaries and thesauruses in each classroom to encourage and enhance children’s use of a wider range of vocabulary. Children use technology in English lessons where it enhances their learning, as in drafting their work and in using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning.


At Hillmorton, we identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can and we help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary.  Teachers plan and teach English lessons which take into account the particular needs of each child. 


We have high quality phonics lessons in EYFS and KS1 and children have the phonics skills they need to tackle new words so they can develop confident and fluent reading. We use Little Wandle Keep Up materials to deliver group or individual sessions to children who are not making the expected progress in phonics.


We quickly identify any children who are finding reading challenging and we intervene early through the reading recovery programme. Progress of children on this programme is monitored closely to support their progress and the reading recovery teacher, the class teacher and parent work closely to support the child’s progress in reading.


We love to celebrate the success of all learners at Hillmorton. Our learning in English is celebrated in classrooms and around the school: our bright and colourful displays celebrate children’s writing and reading work. In assembly we celebrate achievements in writing every week in our Star Writer assembly. We also celebrate the achievement of Super Speller badgers in awards assemblies.  Each classroom has reading reward scheme which encourages children to read regularly at home. In addition, throughout the school year, our literacy curriculum is enhanced by events such as Book Week, drama and storytelling workshops and a range of trips and visits which enrich and complement children’s learning.


Impact (Assessment)


We regularly assess children’s learning in English to measure impact. Children develop transferable skills in English as they progress through the school. Children are competent readers and writers by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2. The genres of writing is familiar to them and they can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and the manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills. Children can write effectively across the curriculum as English skills are transferred into other subjects.


Assessment for learning in English is continuous throughout the planning, teaching and learning cycle. The daily assessments teachers make help them to adjust their daily and weekly planning. It is supported by use of the following strategies:

  • Observing children at work, individually, in pairs, in a group and in class during whole class teaching.

  • Using differentiated, open-ended questions that require children to explain and unpick their understanding.

  • Providing effective feedback, including interactive marking through targeted questions where appropriate, to engage children with their learning and to provide opportunities for self-assessment, consolidation, depth and target setting.

  • Use of success criteria as a frame for children to self-evaluate and peer-evaluate. Children are encouraged to correct their spellings, proof read and up level their writing independently.

We use Sheffield STAT assessments half-termly to measure progress against the learning statements, which enables progress to be monitored and planning to be informed.  All children are set individual half-termly targets for Reading and Writing and these are assessed at the end of each half term.  Parents and children are informed of the progress against the targets and new targets are shared.  Staff also report on progress against these targets during half termly pupil progress meetings.  The Senior Leadership Team lead these meetings.


At the end of the school year teachers measure children’s progress against national expectations.  They set targets for the next school year and summarise the progress of each child before reporting this to the child’s parents. The next teacher then uses these assessments and targets as the planning basis for the new school year.


Children take the national tests at the end of Year 2 and Year 6.  The Phonics Screening Check is carried out in Year 1 and is repeated in Year 2 with any children who did not meet the expected level when in Year 1. We will administer national tests in line with the new recommendations.


Marking of English work is in accordance with the marking policy.  Children are encouraged to self-evaluate against learning intentions. We regularly use success criteria as part of our marking and use a black pen to highlight next steps to children on an individual basis. Children are encouraged to independently respond to their black pen marking in red. They make corrections or improvements to their work.


Teachers regularly undertake moderation exercises to ensure standardisation of the expectations for Reading and Writing across the school.  This ensures all teachers are confident and that there is consistency across the school.  We include a range of independent writing from across the curriculum in these moderations. We also take part in moderation sessions within the cluster of Hillmorton schools. The English subject leader also monitors English books from across the school regularly to evaluate the range and balance of work and to ensure that tasks meet the needs of different learners. The English subject leader compares work from different year groups and key stages to ensure the threshold concepts are being built upon each year and children have regular opportunities to apply their learning of the different genres in a range of extended writing across the curriculum.


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