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English Curriculum

We love English at St Margaret's!

At St Margaret’s C of E Academy we believe Literacy underpins all learning in every curriculum area.  It is the basis through which children access and enjoy a wide curriculum. We strongly believe English is key to empowering independence and is a skill that is essential to everyday living.   Reading and writing is a necessary skill to access all areas of the curriculum and allows children to fulfill and achieve their full potential in all subjects at St Margaret's.

At St Margaret's, we follow the National Curriculum (2014), as set out by the Department of Education in order to plan our English lessons.  Every teacher uses the National Curriculum (2014) to create Yearly and Termly curriculum and topic Overviews. Lessons are then planned to suit children's needs and to enhance their understanding and knowledge in each key area of English.  A full copy of our English policy can be found on our policies page and please look at curriculum overviews for each year group in our curriculum area to familiarise yourself with what your child can look forward to in their English lessons.


There are so many ways that you can help your child progress in English.  Please scroll down to see how we teach reading and ways in which you can help your child.  More information about Phonics and writing can be found by clicking here.

Curriculum - English 1
Curriculum - English 3
Curriculum - English 4

Reading at St Margaret's.

At St Margaret's there is a school-wide aim to inspire a genuine, lifelong love of reading.

We encourage our children to read for pleasure and knowledge.  We aim to model the importance of reading and the idea that being a good reader will allow everyone to access more learning opportunities.

Children at St Margaret's learn to read through a combination of:

  •          Synthetic phonics, using these to blend and segment words.
  •          Recognising high frequency words by sight
  •          Using pictures, contextual and sense clues.

Through developing all of these skills, children will become fluent, independent readers who make sense of what they have read.  Across the school children will take part in a focused reading session as part of a small group with the class teacher at least once a week.  During this time teachers will deliver new learning, check on children's progress and assess learning to inform future planning.  Different emphasis is placed on one to one reading throughout the school.   In reception and Key Stage 1 an adult will aim to read with every child at least once a week.


What reading scheme do we follow?

At St Margaret’s we follow the Collins Big Cat Reading scheme.  Books are arranged in different coloured bands based upon the Collins Big Cat system.  Occasionally a child may bring home a book from a different scheme but these have all been levelled to the equivalent of the Big Cat scheme.  Children will move up the colours at their own pace as advised by the class teacher until they reach Pearl Level. Beyond this children will become a free reader and may choose from either the classroom or school library.  A copy of how the colour bands progress and where you can expect your child to be reading is below.

How the Big Cat reading scheme colours progress

How can you be involved?

It is so important that children carry on embedding their reading skills with you at home.  We ask that all children in KS1 spend at least 5 minutes a night reading at home and in KS2 spend at least 10 minutes.  Reading record books are provided for all children in school. These are a great way for parents and teachers to liaise about a child's reading - changes to levels, targets that have been met, new words learnt.  Teachers are interested in anything your child does at home so please let us know!  


Reading with your child at home has so many benefits - no matter how old they are.  Many of our Year 6 children comment on how their favourite reading activities in school is when a teacher reads to them.  


At st Margaret's we celebrate reading in many ways and involve the parents as often as possible.  Watch out for events such as World Book day, Book Fairs, Book Sales and Bedtime story evenings.  If we can make an event out of reading - we will!  Please always come along and support us in events such as these.

Below are some pictures from previous themed World Book day and bedtime story evening.  Click on the pictures for an enlarged version.  

Writing at St Margaret's.

At St Margaret's we believe writing is an essential skill not only for further learning but in later life.  We aim to ensure all children reach their full potential in writing, enabling them to become confident, fluent and imaginative writers.

At St Margaret's writing is taught in many different ways from the moment a child begins in Reception.  Teachers follow the 2014 National Curriculum and EYFS Curriculum in order to plan exciting and engaging English lessons where the skill of writing is specifically taught.  This happens every day and time to rehearse writing skills is provided in other areas of the curriculum.  The children are taught in units, meaning they will look at a particular genre of writing i.e. narrative (story writing) over a period of 2-3 weeks.  This enables children to fully immerse themselves in the techniques needed for each type of writing.  During this time the children will be given several opportunities to write in the given style.  This process is detailed in greater depth in the school's English policy.  

Homework for English is given weekly across the school.  This often takes the form of writing.  You can support your child by helping them with this writing.  Others ways to promote writing in the home could involve:

  • Writing shopping lists together
  • Encourgaing your child to write their own blog through the schools learning platform DB Primary
  • Writing diaries during the holidays
  • Creating a 'family' story
  • Reading together - Good readers help make good writers

Contact Us

St Margaret's C of E Academy
London Road, Bowers Gifford, Essex, SS13 2DU
T: 01268 552176 • E:

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