At Woodlands Primary School we believe that literacy and oracy are essential life skills. We
aim to develop children who are confident speakers, listeners, readers and writers and who
can utilise their skills to communicate effectively. English is at the heart of our curriculum.

Spoken Language

“Reading and writing float on a sea of talk” – James Britton, 1970

Spoken language is a pre-cursor to the development of reading and writing. Teachers strive
to introduce children to new vocabulary by modelling its use, and correct grammatical usage,
in their own talk.
Children are given frequent opportunities to talk through their thinking and to discuss books
and their own ideas for writing. Older children are taught how to discuss and debate ideas
Opportunities for drama, both watching and writing/performing in role-play etc. are provided
across the school.

English as an additional language
We are fortunate to benefit from a wide and varied number of languages spoken by the
pupils, families and staff at Woodlands Primary School. Whilst we speak English in school,
we encourage parents to continue to provide opportunities for their children to continue
developing an understanding of their family’s first language.


The 2014 English curriculum divides writing into transcription (spelling and handwriting) and
composition (effect of writing, including grammar and punctuation).
As a school we have adopted Talk for Writing and children are first taught how to draw story
maps to help plan and retell stories in Foundation Stage. Key Stage One build on these
foundations and teach children to use a range of strategies to plan and write a range of text
In Lower Key Stage Two, the children begin to focus more on text cohesion and explore
different types of sentences and grammatical features. The children develop further
independence to check and edit their own work. In Upper Key Stage Two, the children
continue to develop confidence and begin to hone their own personal style of writing.
We try to encourage enthusiasm for writing with teachers modelling the writing process.
Many of the writing units of work are based around quality children’s texts and/or films.
Children explore a wide range of text types and opportunities to write for different
Cross-curricular writing opportunities are planned for each foundation and science topic.
Links between writing and computing are forged where possible, e.g. children use apps to
write about what they’ve learnt in other subjects.

Writing is celebrated and displayed across the school with Star Writers awards and prizes
regularly given out in assemblies. Children also enjoy sharing their writing with children and
staff in other classrooms.

We subscribe to Letterjoin and this is used across the school. Every classroom displays an
alphabet demonstrating correct letter formation.
In Foundation Stage, the children are taught to hold a pencil and letter formation alongside
phonics lessons.
In Year One, the children are introduced to cursive writing. Each letter family (curly
caterpillar, long ladder, one-armed robot and zig-zag monster) is revisited and the lead
in/flick out is practised. Children are introduced to diagonal joins and taught how to form
capital letters and the digits 0 to 9.
In Year Two, the children continue to develop joined cursive handwriting. In addition, they
focus on the size and orientation of letters in relation to others.
Throughout Key Stage Two, the children increase the legibility, consistency and quality of
their handwriting.

We follow a whole school programme for spelling. Each year group has a list of words that
must be taught. Children are given a maximum of ten spelling words to learn, with a test at
the end of each week.
At the start of the year, children complete a spelling assessment. This identifies gaps in
previous learning which are then addressed through intervention. A copy of the words is sent
home to parents with the words to learn identified. To track progress, children repeat the
assessment at the end of each term.
Each classroom has a word wall which displays the previous year group’s words (Y1+) and
specific unknown words identified through assessments. These words from previous year(s)
are displayed on a time limited basis and children are encouraged to learn them as quickly
as possible. As the current year group’s words are taught they are also added to the word
wall. Children are encouraged to use the word wall to help with spelling when writing and
editing their work.

Grammar and punctuation
Teachers are aware of the relevant grammar/punctuation for the year group they teach for
English and ensure that this is taught through a mixture of discrete and integrated SPaG
Children are expected to accurately use previously taught grammar/punctuation in their

At Woodlands Primary School we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent
readers by the end of Key Stage One and believe this is achievable through a combination
of strong, high quality, discrete phonics teaching combined with a whole language approach
that promotes a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ culture.
We follow the Letters and Sounds document’s principles and practice across the EYFS and
Key Stage One – this is supported by teachers using elements from Jolly Phonics and
Phonics Play to support the effective delivery of phonics lessons by catering for all children’s
needs. In Key Stage Two interventions are based around the use of No Nonsense Phonics.
All Year One children take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ - a statutory assessment required
by legislation. Those who do not meet the pass mark are given support and intervention
programmes in Year Two, to provide them with sufficient knowledge and understanding to
re-take the Phonics Screening Check and obtain a pass mark. Those children who do not
obtain the required level set by the Phonics Screening Check will receive phonics
intervention as required in Key Stage 2.
Children in Nursery are taught Phase 1 though a differentiated approach within the setting
on a daily basis. As children enter Reception from various pre-school settings, Phase 1
continues in the first weeks of the Autumn Term in Reception. As the children become
confident in Phase 1, Phase 2 sounds are introduced.
Children in Reception are taught a discrete phonics session daily. The driving ethos is for all
children to complete Phase 4 by the end of Reception and have a sound understanding in
order to start Phase 5 by the start of Autumn Term 2 in Year 1. Children are introduced to
the “tricky words” and aim to read and write the high frequency words for Phases 2 to 4
before they enter Year 1.
Children in Year 1 have access to high quality daily phonics sessions for twenty minutes.
The underlying aim of Year 1 should be to ensure all children have completed Phases 4 and
5 and be ready to begin Phase 6 upon entry into Year 2. The focus in year 2 shifts to spelling
and applying phonic knowledge. Children should aim to read and write all the common
exception words for Years 1 and 2.


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Contact the School

Woodlands Community Primary School

Hollybank Road, Birkenhead


CH41 2SY

Mrs B. Baker (Office Manager)

Tel: 0151 647 8406

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