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St Joseph's Selly Oak

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School - Kings Norton, Birmingham

St Joseph's Selly Oak images




At St Joseph’s we aim to develop a love for the English language in its written and spoken forms. We encourage the children to develop skills to communicate effectively in speech and writing and to listen with understanding, to be responsive, enthusiastic and knowledgeable readers. We recognise English as the core subject in the National Curriculum and as a pre-requisite for educational and social progress, empowering children to communicate creatively and imaginatively. We aim to provide an environment for language development, which is stimulating, and is characterised by high expectations of success, so that the fullest potential of each individual may be realised.



At St Joseph’s we aim to encourage children to:

  • read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding;
  • be able to orchestrate a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual), to monitor their reading and correct their own mistakes;
  • understand the sound and spelling system and use this to read and spell accurately;
  • have fluent and legible handwriting;
  • have an interest in words and their meanings and a growing vocabulary;
  • have a good command of grammar and punctuation;
  • know, understand and be able to write in a range of genres in fiction and poetry, and understand and be familiar with some of the ways in which narratives are structured through basic literary ideas of setting, character and plot;
  • understand, use and be able to write a range of non-fiction texts;
  • plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing;
  • have a suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading and writing;
  • be interested in books, read with enjoyment and evaluate and justify their preferences;
  • through reading and writing, develop their powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.



The major focus for the teaching and learning of English at St Joseph’s will be through a daily English lesson. The lesson will begin with a whole class teacher led session, focusing on a text. There is an overall learning objective for each lesson and differentiated groups have a learning objective matched to the overall objective. Must, should, could statements need to be incorporated to allow children to strive for improvement and not put a ‘ceiling’ on their achievement. The middle section of the lesson consolidates the teaching from the whole class session, incorporating group work, independent task and guided writing.


Guided reading is taught daily throughout the school at the beginning of the day with a real focus on nurturing a love of reading. Children are taught to read in ability groups. During guided reading the teacher will work with a focus group, teaching them the skills needed to decode and comprehend. All teachers use a reading continuum to set clear learning intentions for the group they are working with. A record must be kept each session to show what the group has been working on and to show a record of their progress.


Talk for Writing

Talk for Writing is taught during literacy in Reception to Year 3. Talk for Writing helps to raise standards within writing. It allows the children the chance to learn a model text before they begin to write their own. It helps with speaking and listening skills within the retelling of a text and supports accelerated progress in reading and writing.



Handwriting is taught across the school on a daily basis. In Reception Class children are taught the basic font. Children are provided with lots of opportunities to develop fine motor skills.

From Year 1 -6 children are taught to write using the handwriting policy and in cross curricular writing books, handwriting lines are used; starting in Reception until the children no longer need them. Children are encouraged to join from Year 2 onwards.

All staff model good handwriting to the children by using this font for marking and modelling.


Guided Reading

Guided reading is taught on a fortnightly basis; one week carousel, one week whole class. The carousel week is to promote the love for reading; allowing time for book reviews, fiction and non-fiction texts, ICT reading opportunities and reading with class teacher and TA enhancing reading skills throughout. Whole class text reading is teaching the skills to comprehend shorter texts and deepen their understanding through extensive questioning. Teachers will lead with questioning and TA’s on vocabulary.


Phonics Teaching

Phonics is taught on a daily basis in Reception and Key Stage 1. The school has adopted the Read, Write Inc. programme and uses a wide range of resources to support children’s learning. Children have phonic reading books to support their early reading.

In Key Stage 2 phonics is taught where needed.



Year 2-6 follow the Read, Write Inc. programme introducing spellings patterns from the National Curriculum (2014) giving a discrete opportunity for the children to learn the patterns and then apply them into their writing.


Common Exception Words

Please find a list of Common Exception Word files below:


English Policy