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Primary School

Pursue Possibilities

Love Learning

Philosophy of English at the heart of our curriculum

At Robert Arkenstall Primary School we believe the development of rich language, both in spoken and written form, fuels the heart of our English curriculum, as it not only lays the foundations for reading and writing, but also helps develop essential skills for thinking and communication. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins, fostering word curiosity and expanding word consciousness. We actively encourage children to develop their skills to communicate effectively in speech and writing; to listen with understanding; and to be responsive, enthusiastic and passionate readers. Children are provided the opportunity to have expectations for high achievement. We aim for children to use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking, reading and writing across a range of different situations and across the wider curriculum, enabling every child to reach and fulfil their full potential such that no one is disadvantaged by circumstance.


At Robert Arkenstall we provide high quality teaching and learning experiences so our children become enthusiastic, confident and independent users of language in the spoken and written word.

Therefore, we will:

  • Set high expectations so that our children will achieve their full potential.

  • Respond to our pupils’ diverse learning needs, differentiating or scaffolding tasks when appropriate and
    use the deployment of teaching assistants to support learners as required.

  • Provide pupils with opportunities to consolidate, practise and develop new English skills in discrete     English sessions and across the wider curriculum.

  • Encourage confidence and enjoyment in speaking and listening, reading and writing. 

During their education at Robert Arkenstall we aim:

  • To create word curious children who develop a rich and wide vocabulary. 

  • To enable children to speak clearly, fluently and audibly, and to take account of their listeners. 

  • To encourage children to listen with concentration, in order to identify the main points of what they have

  • 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 channels, including through the use of information communication technology (ICT). 

  • To support children in becoming confident, independent readers, through an appropriate focus on word, sentence and text-level knowledge. 

  • To develop children into enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with high-quality and varied texts.

  • To foster and instil an enjoyment of reading in children, and a recognition of its value. 

  • To foster and instil an enjoyment of writing in children, and a recognition of its value. 

  • To encourage accurate, meaningful and purposeful writing from children, be it narrative or non-fiction, and be able to write for a range of audiences.

  • To develop children’s understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation. 

  • To support children with the process of writing such as the planning, drafting and editing.

  • To develop children’s handwriting and promote high standards of written presentation.


This section covers an overview of the full range of elements within the English provision in school.

Please use hyperlinks to access more detailed areas of particular interest.

Early Reading and Phonics

In order to teach our pupils to become fluent, confident readers, who have a love of reading; we make it our priority to teach a daily phonics lesson using a schematic synthetic phonics programme. We have used our own designed scheme of work since 2013. We have four classes within EYFS and KS1 in our rural context. Mixed aged classes made it essential to coordinate the teaching of phonics schematically so that each child had age relevant content and appropriate support to maintain progress or receive intervention.

Reading across school

At Robert Arkenstall, our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. We aim to foster a love of reading and we encourage children to read a wide range of books both at school, and at home.

All children have access to our wonderful school library and each classroom has carefully selected books from it to complement the attainment and needs of our pupils. We budget to refresh the books on offer to ensure all of our children have a varied and rich reading diet. Our Reading Champion Teaching  Assistant keeps the library running efficiently and is ably assisted by Year 6 librarian volunteers

We have high expectations of children and the progression of their reading skills. Therefore, we offer as many opportunities for reading as we can. This may happen in English lessons or across the wider curriculum. Our brains privilege narrative and it is for this reason we have selected Opening Worlds for our foundation subject programme of study since they are based up on rich text narrative and the explicit teaching of disciplinary language.

We believe that high-quality literature is the key to motivating children to read and instilling in children a love of literature. Because of this, we also ensure we read a class book to our children each and every day. Sometimes children recommend books, often teachers bring books they love, and we see that reading is catching with children bringing their own copies or borrowing from our library or the village library!

Writing across school 

At Robert Arkenstall, we strive to create an environment that will promote both reading and writing. In order to ensure that all pupils learn to be confident writers we encourage children to write creatively whilst teaching key writing skills explicitly and systematically. We give children experiences to write at regular opportunities throughout the school week, whether this be in English lessons or wider curriculum subjects. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding of writing and the writing process such as planning, drafting and editing. The children may experience writing opportunities in guided groups or independently. Importantly, we ensure children have a clear understanding of the purpose for their writing and an awareness of their intended audience so that they can consider the language and text features they need to make their writing appropriate and meaningful.

Spelling Overview

Understanding how to spell correctly is important in supporting children to organise their thinking around language. Knowing how to apply spelling rules and recognising key words is empowering for children and supports both their reading and writing. Spelling plays a significant part of standardised assessment and is taught weekly throughout the school.