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English at St Robert Bellarmine



“A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.” Primary National Curriculum 2014


The English curriculum at St Robert Bellarmine Primary School strives to achieve this for all of our children, it aims to ensure that they leave school fluent in the fundamentals of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We encourage all of our children to see that all strands of the English curriculum are an essential part of their everyday life now and in the future.

The English curriculum has been carefully planned to ensure that it is ambitious, coherently planned and sequenced. That it is broad and balanced and adapted, designed and developed so that it is inclusive to all in our school.


 At the heart of our English planning is the National curriculum, we are confident that our curriculum delivers the knowledge and skills set out in this document for all children. This foundation is then built upon when deciding how we are going to implement these objectives to ensure that they are taught in a way which allows children to be creative, develop their own thinking and questioning,have time to think deeply as well as master the skills and knowledge required.


All staff regularly work very closely with an English consultant to plan, evaluate and regularly revise the curriculum provision so that it is fit for purpose in many ways. We ensure our curriculum includes:

  • coherent planning and sequencing within year groups and across the school
  • a high quality text at the core
  • reading and writing activities that are ambitious
  •  a wide range of reading and writing activities with grammar, vocabulary and spelling woven through
  •  knowledge and skills that are built upon and can then be applied across the curriculum
  • activities that are relevant and accessible to all children
  • Opportunities for speaking and listening

What the English curriculum looks like at St Robert Bellarmine



We really read here at St Robert Bellarmine


  • Our school is rich in texts that represent children’s literature and staff are skilled in selecting the right book for different outcomes. This knowledge is carefully passed onto children so that they in turn have more ownership about developing their own reading habits.
  • Whole-school texts that bring the reading community (pupils, staff and parents) together. This is further enhanced through a holistic approach to ‘reading for pleasure’ where strategies are embedded both implicitly and explicitly.
  • All staff have a deep knowledge of texts used; demonstrate and model positive attitudes to reading and can reshape tasks to guide the children as readers. This expertise provides opportunities for children to read beyond their ability and many children master higher order reading skills.
  • Early reading is promoted through a range of methods so that our youngest readers are equipped with skills to decode (through consistent phonics sessions) and comprehend (through guided reading sessions where real books are used to promote questioning skills)
  • High-quality texts at the heart of learning so that our children have the best models
  • The best children’s literature is used to engage readers and inspire writers so that the process of reading into writing is explicitly modelled and children can see a real relationship between both sets of skills
  • Aspirational texts used to stimulate challenging discussions to develop justification skills
  • Embrace texts that stimulate philosophical questions that reflect contemporary issues and make connections across the curriculum
  • Application of reading skills across all curriculum areas to support knowledge-based learning activities. Texts chosen genuinely reflect the area studied and can be used as a vehicle to teach new skills.
  • Highly- skilled staff who craft questions in reading sessions to tease out learning from all pupils from EYFS- Year 6. Consistent monitoring of reading skills ensures that assessment of reading is rigorous and accurate.
  • Staff who consistently evaluate the purpose of the texts chosen so that they match the interests and the needs of their classes
  • Staff expertise and the wealth of resources ensure that all readers, including those who are reluctant make progress and develop into ‘real readers’
  • We value the importance our parents make in supporting all children to read regularly, fluently and accurately. High-quality home reading books alongside well-known children’s books are used to facilitate this. Progress made in reading is at the heart of many parents’ evening discussions.
  • There is a wealth of resources that teachers use including ‘The Better Reading Partnership’ so that children from all abilities are catered for. Some children benefit from 1:1 reading with a skilled adult  to further develop their fluency and comprehension skills.



How we craft our trade...


  • Well-chosen high-quality texts are at the heart of all English sessions to ensure children have models of writing that equip them with skills to succeed.
  • Yearly overviews are consistently reviewed to ensure that all writing tasks are meaningful with a clear audience and purpose. Children make progress across their writing because this is meticulously managed and reviewed.
  • Staff have developed curriculum long-term plans that illustrate soundly how writing skills can be taught in English sessions and further applied in another context. This is expertly woven through the whole curriculum through well-chosen texts and children take great pride to ensure that the standard of writing is consistent in all foundation subjects.
  • Grammar skills are embedded within the context of high-quality texts ensuring the function of grammatical devices is the objective. Staff expertise means that children practise a skill and are challenged to reason within this area so that it can be transferred across into the children’s independent writing. This means that all grammar skills are purposeful and match the features of the task so that children connect all of their writer’s tools.
  • Children here genuinely enjoy writing because they are encouraged to take risks when writing; take ownership of a task by making their own choices and develop their own style. Staff facilitate this by sharing high-quality exemplars; analysing the tools required within the features and then allowing the children autonomy to shape their own writing.
  • Natural writers are encouraged to develop their own style so that they can choose how to use the writing tools that they have been taught and in turn use this freedom to develop their writer’s voice often resulting with many children mastering writing.
  • Consistent approaches to assessing writing is evident through the plans; teacher feedback and valuable discussions with children. All staff are astutely aware of how to move a child on in their writing and this is reflected in the progress made.
  • Children are taught the purpose of planning a piece of writing so that they fully recognise the importance of this stage and use it when writing. Equally, children are taught skills to both proof-read their writing and edit it so that it can be the best that it can be.
  • High expectations from staff ensure that presentation and handwriting is of a high standard. All children recognise the importance of this and in turn work hard to produce writing that is well-presented.
  • Early writing encompasses all areas of provision within EYFS where the youngest writers within school are provided with a varied writing diet.



Speaking and Listening

It’s good to talk…


  • All staff recognise the importance of oral rehearsal before writing and this is evidenced through planning activities across the curriculum where children are given a voice. This ensures children are directly involved in the task and can articulate; justify and explain their learning.
  • Modelling how to justify own reasons is planned carefully into reading sessions so that children can apply these skills through a range of phrases in other contexts. This is further enhanced in whole-school debating style sessions aligned to a shared text. Building skills from Year 1 to Year 6.
  • Children are encouraged to actively question throughout the curriculum. This is facilitated through well-planned activities where staff promote pupil voice. Children enjoy participating in this way and they develop justification schools at an age-appropriate standard.
  • High-quality texts that deal with contemporary issues provide the vehicle for children to question and hypothesise within a safe environment. Staff are equipped to manage these discussions in a sensitive manner so that most children feel confident to share their opinion.
  • Within class discussions, children are encouraged to adapt and change their viewpoint as they develop further knowledge of a topic. 
  • Visual resources and images are used to stimulate meaningful discussions where all children, including the youngest and more reluctant learners, can participate. 
  • All staff model Standard-English throughout school and children work hard to reflect this.
  • Staff have been trained to use a range of principles to encourage precision in vocabulary. These principles underpin many teaching sessions across the curriculum as staff use a wealth of resources that equip the children with skills to identify and reason with language. Enhancing vocabulary is embedded across all subjects and teachers strive to provide purposeful activities where language development is promoted. Although this is a key strand within guided reading sessions, staff use these principles to support all learning across the curriculum.
  • Children take part in a range of opportunities to speak publicly across the school year including focused curriculum sharing assemblies (friendship week & multi-cultural week); whole-school assemblies for parents; productions (Christmas, Carol Services, Easter Service and Y6) and an external company who provide ‘A play in a day’ for all year groups related to a curriculum area (for example EYFS Pirates, Y3 Stone Age- Iron Age etc…)
  • Skilled staff plan writing activities with a clear purpose and audience. This means that children are involved in rich conversations regarding the scale of formality to ensure the correct vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is selected to match the intended audience. This is further enhanced in upper key stage 2 where a more detailed analysis is expected when planning writing activities. Children can verbally justify these choices before they record them in their written form.
  • EYFS – There are many opportunities for role play.




  • We recognise that for all of our children to become confident readers and writers, it is essential that they have a secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of the English language.
  • We follow the Read Write Inc phonics programme to ensure phonics is taught systematically and consistently throughout school.
  • Staff are trained to deliver these high-quality sessions for all children from nursery to year 1. This approach is also used as an intervention for children who need further sessions.
  • Although children have a discrete phonics session, staff provide many opportunities across the curriculum for children to apply their knowledge of phonics in a different context. This is further developed in English sessions where children use the taught strategies from phonics in their independent writing.




  • Once children have consolidated the foundations for phonics, we use the Read Write Inc Spelling programme to teach spelling across KS1 and KS2. This is a consistent approach to teaching spelling and the coverage has progression through year groups built in.
  • Teachers use a range of strategies to deliver the programme to ensure children make progress.
  • Teachers are eager to ensure that taught spelling skills are transferred independently within writing tasks. Children are actively encouraged to use the taught spelling strategies across other areas of the curriculum.
  • Teachers are skilled within this area of the curriculum and will take the opportunities to review previous year group’s spelling skills spontaneously within other lessons when appropriate.
  • Children are taught the skills to proof-read their own writing and in turn are encouraged to correct their spellings using the strategies taught in sessions.

Important Documents