English Curriculum

English Lead: Miss Hollingworth - a.hollingworth@holdenclough.tameside.sch.uk

Phonics Lead: Miss Hartley


At Holden Clough, we feel literacy is a fundamental life skill as it develops the children’s ability to communicate effectively – to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of different purposes.   We place a heavy emphasis on developing a child’s reading and vocabulary in paricular, and we endeavour to, on the conclusion of Key Stage 2, broadened our children's vocabularly enormously. They will also have a love of reading and writing.



Phonics Scheme used: 'FirstClassPhonics' devised by BC Education

Phonics plays a vital role in the teaching of reading and is taught daily in EYFS and KS1 following the 'First Class Phonics' programme. The phonics scheme is used to provide a structured coverage of each Phonics phase. Pupils are taught in small groups to ensure they are working at their appropriate phonics level. Our teaching staff plan and teach interactive activities that engage our pupils and provide opportunities to apply their phonics skills in reading and writing tasks. Progression in Phonics is assessed half termly and monitored to ensure progression and provide appropriate support.



Reading is at the very core of our English curriculum and at Holden Clough we strive to promote a love of reading and literature through focused reading lessons/activities whereby a wide range of rich text types are shared, whilst we also realise the importance of reading for pleasure. Teachers read to the children for fifteen minutes every day in order to promote a love of reading.  We also feel it is important teachers and support staff are also seen as readers, and to this extent, during periods of independent reading, they too read a children's book of their choice. Our bright, inviting library and class reading areas encourage independence in reading and the joy of being able to immerse themselves into a text. We have a home-school reading system, which requests that children read a book at the appropriate level for them at home. We employ a reading scheme lower down the school which enables us to match home-reading books with a child's phoenetical development, whilst In KS2, children progress through the book bands until they reach the stage of 'free-reader'. Through a combination of guided and whole-class timetabled  reading and comprehension lessons we teach our children the skills needed to extract meaning from texts: the very facet of reading which makes it so enjoyable. We employ strategies such as echo and chorla reading to develop reading fluency, and we encourage children to 'performance read' wherever possible.  We also dedicate staff to listening to children read and then question them effectively for meaning.  

Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar in EYFS and Year 1, spelling is taught and monitored daily through phonics lessons.  As part of our recovery curriculum, these are currently taking place twice daily.  Spelling is taught daily from Year 2 to 6 using the ‘PlanBee’ spelling scheme in dedicated 15 minute sessions.  The programme develops children’s knowledge of the statuatory spellings for each year group, word families, how suffixes impact upon root words and mnemonics are provided to remember the trickiest spellings.  Punctuation and grammar are taught every week during literacy lessons as the children move through the writing process.  Additional sessions are taught where necessary to ensure that all elements of the national curriculum have been covered.  Children are taught and encouraged to use the correct grammatical terminology from key stage 1 onwards.  All teachers follow the expectations set by the spelling guidance within the New Curriculum Framework 2014. 



At Holden Clough Community Primary School, we believe that developing excellent handwriting and high-quality presentation skills gives children a real sense of pride in themselves and their work, and increases their motivation and enthusiasm for writing.  To this end, we use the non-cursive Martin Harvey approach to handwriting and a long term handwriting plan is in place throughout the school.  Handwriting is taught either to the whole class or to a group/individual dependent on the individual learners need.  We link handwriting to the spellings being learnt as part of our ‘PlanBee’ scheme as well as incorporating the statutory spellings for each year group into our handwriting sessions. Handwriting is an integral part of good presentation skills and for this reason our pupils are challenged by the teacher to produce a good, well presented end product at all times.



We believe that the mastery of written language is one of the most powerful gifts we can provide to our children. We believe that writing should be purposeful, rich and enjoyable for all. Within the classroom, writing situations are creative and engaging and emphasise to the children the purpose of writing. We provide them with the opportunity to write in a variety of genres and for a wide range of purposes and audiences.

The writing process is planned using our own planning progression document and each unit of work follows the same route: creating interest, reading as a reader, reading as a writer and gathering ideas, writing phase and sharing work with an audience and independent application. In key Stage One and Two, a new book is introduced to the children each half-term as stimulus for their writing, this is used as a basis for a narrative unit of work and a non-fiction unit of work. Shared and modelled writing takes place within the literacy lesson where the teacher demonstrates good writing practice to the children. Emphasis is placed on the correct language (both formal and informal) and text structure which is required for the relevant piece of writing. Working walls are used to display the writing process and support children’s learning and progress - comprehension and understanding, identifying the linguistic features, planning, writing, editing and up-levelling.

For full details of all polcies please follow the links at the bottom of the page.

To find out more about the curriculum your school is following please contact the school office mail@holdenclough.tameside.sch.uk


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