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  • Bolden Terrace, Westhouses, Alfreton, Derbyshire, DE55 5AF. Tel: 01773 832 518


English at Westhouses Primary School



At Westhouses Primary School all children will have experience in the following areas in English: speaking and listening, reading, writing, grammar spelling and punctuation, as well as handwriting. Children are encouraged to communicate their ideas through writing and speaking which includes: drama, performance, creative writing, poetry and prose. Children’s work is celebrated both in school through display and out of school on the school website, through publications and competitions.



Intent: Our aim is for all our children to be independent, resilient and confident writers who enjoy the writing process. Our lessons are carefully developed around challenging, quality texts (custom-written if necessary) and all year groups use Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing techniques.  Vocabulary is developed through the whole curriculum and pupils are encouraged and shown how to effectively use interesting and adventurous language in their writing. Alongside Talk for Writing, we use Classroom Secrets for Grammar in Years 1 - 6, in order to ensure consistency and progression in grammar skills. 


Implementation:  We begin with opportunities for immersion at the beginning of a new genre. This involves story mapping, drama-based activities and shared writing as a class. Once the children have a good understanding of the taught genre and have had enough time to engage with varied examples and a model text, we then move on to the innovation stage where the children begin to plan and compose their own examples. The final phase is the invention stage. This is where the children independently write and redraft their piece.  Throughout all writing sessions, appropriate grammar objectives are embedded and analysed. 


Impact: Assessment in writing is ongoing throughout every lesson. This allows teachers to adapt their planning in order to target pupils for support, as well as ensure that all children are challenged appropriately. Children are given regular opportunities to edit and improve their own writing. Independent writing is moderated regularly as a staff.  



The children need to learn the correct way to form letters so that they can go on to join up their letters as they get older. We use the Nelson Scheme for handwriting throughout school. Handwriting books are used daily at the beginning of the day. Effective activities for strengthening hand muscles used in school include dough disco, cutting and sticking activities, and using tweezers and clothes pegs. In Reception, we also use Squiggle While you Wiggle to reinforce letter formation. Opportunities for celebrating handwriting are encouraged to further engage and motivate pupils to be proud of their presentation.


Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation:

Grammar, Spelling and punctuation are taught through Classroom Secrets. Children have a longer grammar session on a Monday and then revisit the concept throughout the week in a grammar starter. The week's focus will also be explored through other writing and reading as appropriate. Spelling is also taught through our daily phonics programme in EYFS and KS1 and The Spelling League in KS2.  Pupils are encouraged to learn spellings at home and spelling lists are sent out each week. Assessment is through termly NFER assessment test to track progress, teacher assessment and through our school tracking system. Phonics and spelling rules are taught, and consolidated during class sessions.



The children:

  • learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letters/letter groups using simple picture prompts
  • learn to read words using sound blending
  • read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
  • show that they comprehend the stories by answering 'Find It' and 'Prove It' discussion questions
  • The children are taught to use the school's 'reading toolkit' which is comprised of the skills needed to be a competent reader

All children engage with a daily guided reading session. In EYFS and KS1 this is through the Little Wandle Scheme. Reading books are carefully matched to the child's reading ability using the benchmarking kit. We promote reading through use of our school library, Book Week, the Book Fair and other themed activities. Our aim is for every child to leave Westhouses Primary as a fluent and keen reader. In KS2 pupils in all classes also read a class novel each term, which includes both classic novels and novels with specific links to cross-curricular work.



    Children are encouraged to work with children of similar and different levels. This allows them to take a full part in all lessons. They work in pairs so that they:

    • answer every question
    • practise every activity with their partner
    • take turns in reading texts which are challenging and thought provoking
    • have the chance to develop skills with different pupils to develop communication skills


    We assess reading and Grammar using NFER tests and for Years 2 & 6, past SATs papers. We assess on entry into the new year group, mid-year and end of year for progress. Interventions are also used to support pupils to fulfil their potential and accelerate progress. Reading levels are assessed termly and we use benchmarking schemes analyse their progress in lexile levels and to ensure the children are reading suitable, challenging texts.


    If you would like further information on how we teach specific areas of English, current texts and units being taught in class, please speak to your child’s class teacher.