St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary School

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The study of English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes, including the communication of their ideas, views and feelings. Children become empowered to interpret the world around them and to make sense of their experiences; in this sense English is a tool for both our thinking and learning.
Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and a range of multi- media. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins; ensuring that they are at the heart of the learning experience.

The aims of teaching English are:

• To enable children to speak with clarity, confidence and expression, and to take account of their audience, purpose and differing situations.
• To encourage children to listen with concentration to others, to respond and build on their ideas and views and to identify features of language used for specific purposes.
• To show children how to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands.
• To teach children effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, through a variety of drama activities.
• To use phonological awareness to decode and encode words.
• To help children to be able to read with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment.
• To help them become confident, independent readers, through an appropriate focus on word - sentence – and text-level knowledge;
• To develop enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with challenging and substantial texts;
• To help the children to develop an understanding that writing is both essential to thinking and learning and enjoyable in its own right.
• To enable children to learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts, spelling and punctuating accurately and for a range of purposes.
• To enable the children to improve their planning, drafting, editing and evaluation of their own work and that of others.



All children in the school to have access to an engaging writing curriculum and high quality teaching, which enables them to be confident, creative writers no matter their starting point and engenders in them a love of the written word.




The children are developing their love of writing, this is evident from pupil voice surveys.

As a result of our new, targeted approach to writing there have been great improvements in our end of KS1 and KS2 data. Our Nationally validated data from 2022 shows pupil progress as good and our Year 6 SATs results were above the national average, showing that our pupils leave school with the necessary skills for Secondary school and beyond.

Pupil Surveys indicate that the majority of pupils enjoy writing and 89% said that the cold to hot write approach supported them with developing and improving their skills. Pupils feel supported by their teachers and are aware of their next steps to improve their writing.

We continue to close the gaps in knowledge created during COVID, as teachers planned for addressing the specific needs of each class as well as delivering targeted conferencing sessions with pupils.

Writing for pleasure is encouraged through entering into various writing competitions throughout the school year, including Wimbledon Bookfest Young Writers competition. Pupils, when asked, shared that they felt heard and represented through their writing being published in a book.

Writing is celebrated throughout the school, with opportunities to share work in writing celebration assemblies and is on display throughout the school.


  Writing Objectives - Yearly Overview

 Please click on the relevant year group to view the writing objectives



‘Learning to read; reading to learn’


Through our whole school wide provision for reading – through guided reading, 1 to 1 reading, home reading, phonics, intervention, strategies to support learning to read and reading across all curriculum areas and above all reading for pleasure – We wish to ensure a lifelong skill and pleasure in reading.

We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:

  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading and books.
  • Read accurately, fluently and with understanding;
  • Apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
  • Be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;
  • Develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;
  • Read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;
  • Develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy;
  • Read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.


Through the delivery of our reading curriculum we ensure a consistent and robust teaching and learning of early reading and phonics in FS and KS1, so that pupils are able to read with increased speed and fluency and access the wider curriculum.  Children are provided with books that match and support their phonics development and ability.  All pupils have opportunities to develop their reading skills daily, and are encouraged to read at home with an adult.  We provide a text rich environment, in order to encourage a positive culture of reading throughout all classes and promote reading for pleasure.  Children enjoy listening to challenging texts through Story time and class novels.   Through high quality teaching and learning experiences we will develop children’s skills and competence so that they are fluent readers who can read to learn.  We use a range of approaches ie: whole class shared reading, guided reading, small group and 1:1, throughout the school to enable all children to share high quality texts and develop skills in reading comprehension and fluency.  Reading skills are continually developed through the wider curriculum.

We use a range of Initiatives:

  • Nuffield Early Language Intervention for targeted children in EYFS
  • Government validated Systematic Synthetic phonics programme (SSP), Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Reception & KS1
  • Reading a range of banded reading books ie: Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat phonics, Project X, Usborne.
  • Accelerated Reader scheme KS2
  • Robust daily guided reading activities
  • Merton Reading Fluency Project Year 2
  • Targeted support using Nessy, Reading Revival, additional reading

‘Learning to Read’ – Early Reading EYFS and KS1

Our ultimate aim in the teaching of early reading is for children to leave Year 2 fluent, confident and independent readers being able to apply their knowledge and skills across the curriculum. We place a great deal of importance and emphasis on the teaching of early reading. This is reflected in the amount of time dedicated to the teaching of knowledge and skills; we teach daily phonics in Early Years and KS1.  With these key skills, children are in an excellent position to access the wider curriculum.  The love and enjoyment for reading is reinforced in the rich, broad diet of texts to excite and challenge.

Phonics Programme – Nursery to Year 2

In Nursery, children learn to identify environmental and percussive sounds with teaching of rhymes and songs to enable them to begin to make the distinction between different sounds in preparation for identifying Phase 2 sounds and phonemes.

In Reception and KS1 children have a daily phonics lesson. We are using the government validated Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme (SSP) Little Wandle Letters and sounds revised.

Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools by schools. Based on the original Letters and Sounds, but extensively revised to provide a complete teaching programme meeting all the expectations of the National Curriculum, the Ofsted Deep Dive into reading and preparing your children to go beyond the expectations of the Phonics Screening Check.

In Reception, we explicitly teach the phonemes and corresponding graphemes through the daily teaching of our progressive and engaging phonics programme. We expect children to leave Early Years with the knowledge of Phase 3 sounds.

As children move into Key Stage One the skills and knowledge are reinforced and built upon. Year 1 children are taught alternate graphemes to specific phonemes through explicit phonic lessons and writing takes place every day. We expect children to have a sound knowledge of Phase 4 and 5 sounds.  Children move into Year 2 with a greater shift from learning to read at a basic skill level to reading to learn in the application of their knowledge.  We expect children to leave Year 2 as confident, fluent readers.

As well as a daily phonics lesson we also provide:

  • daily small group guided reading sessions
  • daily carousel reading activities
  • 1:1 reading
  • daily story time
  • fortnightly class visits to the school library
  • school library open daily before and after school
  • regular reading book changing
  • reading opportunities woven throughout the wider curriculum

For more information on Little Wandle Letter and Sounds revised, please click on the following link:-  Little Wandle Letter and Sounds revised


Fluency Project

The Merton Reading Fluency Project followed the Herts for Learning model that was designed to:

  • increase the number of pupils achieving the Expected Standard in reading at the end of KS2;
  • ensure those pupils that have not made progress through KS2 are supported in achieving the expected standard
  • ensure pupils have a more positive relationship with books on exit from KS2;
  • cultivate enthusiastic, confident readers who have an increased understanding of challenging texts
  • develop local expertise to support future practice in the authority

 Predicted impact of the project -



Reading to Learn’ – Understanding texts

‘The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension’

Comprehension is introduced from Nursery and Reception and continues right through to Year 6.  As children become more fluent and automatic readers, the amount of time and focus on understanding increases.

What does reading look like in KS2?

  • daily whole class/small group guided reading sessions
  • 1:1 reading
  • a range of supplementary reading activities
  • daily class novel – teacher reads to the children for enjoyment
  • weekly book changing
  • regular reading opportunities woven throughout the wider curriculum
  • fortnightly school library visits and library open before and after school

 Aims of Reading Sessions:

Triggering Prior Knowledge

This prepares the reader for engaging with a text by:

  • Summarising prior learning/concepts.
  • Foregrounding new texts with an understanding of concepts or facts that will aid understanding of the reading to come.


Enabling the reader to anticipate what will come next in the text, based on:

  • Prior knowledge
  • Structure of the text
  • Content of the text
  • What has been read previously


Children read independently at their own pace, either:

  • Silently or to themselves
  • Teachers can hear an individual read-aloud
  • Reading can be done as a whole class


Clarifying enables the learner to deal with difficulties of:

  • Unfamiliar vocabulary – words/phrases
  • New or challenging concepts
  • Where meaning is lost

The best clarification comes from the children – some words seem obvious to teachers but that is irrelevant for a child to whom it is not obvious.

To establish meaning, we may re-read a sentence or passage now that the children understand the language.


Children are encouraged to be active in the reading process by asking questions about the concepts and themes that they are intrigued or confused by.

  • Teachers (and increasingly, the children themselves) ask questions about the text that they have just read.
  • The teacher should invite different ideas and suggestions to questions.
  • Comprehension of the text can be assessed through the questioning stage


The summary identifies the main or most important point in the section that has been read:

  • It gives an indication of the reader’s understanding.
  • Encourages the reader to sift main ideas in own words.
  • Sets up prediction for the next section where they will return to predicting.

 Guided Reading in KS2

Guided Reading in KS2In addition a class novel is read by the teacher outside of guided reading – purely for pleasure.

Class text for whole class reading is linked to the topic where possible. We also aim to include books about or written by authors from different cultures and backgrounds to reflect the wide diversity within our school.  

We also supplement our class reading book with individual extracts or texts in order to cover non-fiction, poetry, and objectives which cannot be covered from narrative.

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated reader programme is an effective software tool to foster reading growth. It encourages pupils to read widely and independently, whilst allowing staff to monitor progress and support where necessary. The programme is designed to determine a reading level for pupils at the start. Pupils read books within the level and all books in the library are registered with Accelerated Reader code to enable them to recognize the correct books for their level. Pupils take a quiz on the website after reading each book to assess how well they have understood it.  This will also form part of our provision for catch up and pupil premium children. This should encourage children to have choice within their level of the books they enjoy reading.

We are launching this approach to reading in January 2022


To ensure all curriculum outcomes are being taught, teachers should use the planning documents created and highlight them as they progress through the year. There could be a mixture of whole class reading and guided reading lessons throughout the week, dependent on the needs of the pupils in the class.


Tasks should relate to reading, and student should read independently or be read to as much as possible. The tasks should relate to a reading skill, but may require some writing. This is okay, as long as the skill being taught it a reading skill. (For example, writing a summary is a reading skill, but will require some writing.)


Assessment can be done during guided reading, whole class reading, or throughout other curriculum topics such as English, Science, Topics, R.E etc. Any time a child is reading, there is an opportunity for assessment. Observations should be written down and recorded as evidence. Children will also have a formal assessment once a term to assess how they are doing against age related expectations.

Book corners/displays

All our classes have inviting book corners with a variety of fiction and non-fiction books. Book reviews and other reading activities are displayed in the reading corner to foster a love for reading. There are reading prompts displayed in the classroom to support children with their comprehension and understanding of text. Dictionaries and thesauruses are also available to assist with reading.

Home reading

All children in Early years and Key Stage 1 have their books changed at least once a week. Books are match to children’s reading abilities. We encourage all parents to read with their children daily and fill in their reading record books so that the teachers know how their children are getting on at home. As children get older and start to read longer chapter books they are encouraged to write a book review and change their books once completed. With the introduction of Accelerated Reader we are moving towards children in KS2 choosing a book to read from the library which is at both an appropriate level and of interest to them. There are online quizzes attached to the majority of books which the children will need to complete once they have read their book. Teachers will regularly monitor which books the children have read and how well they are performing in their quizzes.   

School Library

We have a lovely school library which we are continually resourcing with books suggested by the children. We have a number of books which reflect our school diversity. We believe that pupils need to be able to relate to the texts they read and need to see themselves, their families and peers and to identify with the characters and contexts they encounter.  All classes are able to visit the library fortnightly during school time and the library is open before and after school for the children to visit with their parents where they are free to choose books of interest to them. 


The children are developing their love of reading and this is evident from pupil voice and the way they talk about their reading.

Our Nationally validated data from 2019 shows pupil progress to be average. Our current  internal assessments indicate that children, both in KS1 and KS2 are broadly in line with 2019 National averages with both predictions and targets above those 2019 averages.

Current Autumn 2021 Summer 2021 School 2019 National 2019
KS2 70% 85% 70% 73%
KS1 69% 68% 72% 75%

 Pupil surveys indicate that 99% of children enjoy reading.

We are active participants in a range of Merton projects, including NELI and Reading Fluency which have been proven to give added value to children’s attainment.

Our Phonics results have improved from 2017 to 2019, sitting in the 2nd to top quintile.  These phonics results have been maintained over time.

In addition to this:

Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to home-school records.

  • The % of pupils working at age related expectations and above age related expectations within each year group will be at least in line with national averages and will match the ambitious targets of individual children.
  • There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged)   


Year 1 


Year 2



Year 3



Year 4

Year Group Reading Objectives 


Year 5

Year Group Reading Objectives

Year 6

 Year Group Reading Objectives