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Here at Okehampton Primary School, the curriculum encompasses several areas which develop children's ability to read, write and organise their ideas orally. A more in depth programme of study is followed to teach children spelling. Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation are taught through the real texts of our teaching sequences. In line with the new guidance, key skills are now taught earlier, starting in KS1. Objectives for grammar and spelling are more specific and the content is more advanced. Formative assessment is used to track progress and a range of interventions are available to support learners.

We aim to ensure that all children:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate


Spoken language

We firmly believe that meaningful talk helps children make fantastic progress in reading and writing, as well as other areas of the curriculum. Speaking and listening is essential in supporting children to develop and organise their ideas. We also value drama, providing children with opportunities to grow in confidence and independence. It is not only an interesting and exciting subject, but a dynamic and exciting part of the Primary Curriculum. At Okehampton Primary School, we use drama across all our subjects in an innovative and kinaesthetic way, allowing children of all ages to tap into their creativity, explore new concepts and contribute to their imagination.


Children are given opportunities to:

  • Listen and respond to stories, poems and rhymes.
  • Retell stories and poems which are known by heart.
  • Participate in discussions and debates.
  • Discuss and evaluate their own work with peers and adults.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Justify actions and opinions.
  • Participate in planned drama sessions across the curriculum.
  • Orally compose before they write.
  • Experience visiting theatre groups/storytellers performing at school.



At Okehampton Primary School, we believe that reading is the best gift that you could give your child. We have tailored a policy to support all children in their learning of reading and to inspire children to become life-long readers. One of the main aims of English in the new National Curriculum is to ‘develop [pupils’] love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment’. This is to be achieved by ensuring that they ‘develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information’.


KS1 - We use a range of schemes such as Rising Stars and Collins Big Cat to provide a rich a varied text base. These texts are organised into bands using book band and bench-marking guidance. This expands into early KS2 as necessary to ensure the needs of our children are being met. 


KS2 - We continue to use a range of schemes as well as our extensive library to ensure children are reading for information and for pleasure.  In addition, our 'Accelerated Reader' programme allows children to read a broad range of texts and provides opportunity for independent reading at 90-95% rate of accuracy. When appropriate, 'Accelerated Reader' can also be used for KS1 pupils. For further information about 'Accelerated Reader' please see the parent information document below. 


We provide the children with opportunities to:

  • Read daily using a wide range of text and genres (during independent reading time, whole class sessions and focused guided reading sessions.)
  • Participate in daily interactive phonics sessions which start in EYFS and continue through KS1 (and KS2 if necessary).
  • Use Accelerated Reader to encourage children to read widely, challenge themselves and enable them to make well paced progress in comprehension. Click here to get more information on the Accelerated Reader Scheme.
  • Share and talk about stories to improve their comprehension skills and to help them make informed choices with their independent reading.
  • Read aloud to encourage expression and instil confidence.
  • Value books through reading regularly to children, attractive and user friendly book library, celebrating World Book Day, Poetry celebration week and promoting the importance of reading through a Reading Champions assembly.
  • Ensure reading skills are taught as children progress through the school to enable them to develop a critique of a range of literature and styles of writing.
  • Provide Reading Recovery intervention to help selected children make accelerated progress.



Across the school, teachers and support staff strive to promote an engaging and creative writing environment. Okehampton Primary School firmly believes that great readers become great writers and so teachers choose extremely high quality and stimulating texts as a basis for writing. Quality-first planning ensures children are challenged to become more confident and adventurous writers. Pupils become familiar with a range of text types and their features so that they can begin the exploration of language and structure. Once fully immersed in the text, it becomes a tool to explore ideas about language and structure (layout, level of formality, organisational devices, setting, character etc.) Class discussions give a context to grammar and syntax, which subsequently helps to develop and enrich pupils’ own writing skills. By exposing our children to a wide bank of texts, we are helping to generate interesting ideas from them.


We provide children with a range of experiences and give opportunities to:

  • Relate writing to their own experiences.
  • Write across a range of narrative, non-fiction and poetry genres.
  • Develop a voice as a writer.
  • Discuss and reflect on their writing frequently.
  • See examples of good writing through shared and modelled writing.
  • Write in response to a range of stimuli, including music, film and real life experiences.
  • Present their writing in a variety of ways, including using Digital Literacy.
  • Develop Grammar and Punctuation skills through explicit teaching.
  • Regularly practice and improve their Handwriting.
  • Participate in interactive and kinaesthetic spelling sessions.
  • Improve their spelling through weekly investigations and tests on different spelling patterns and rules.
  • Use dictionaries and thesauruses to develop a broader vocabulary.


Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar, Punctuation and Glossary - Guidance from the

National Curriculum.

The 2 statutory appendices – on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – give an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study.

Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than 1 meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included in the appendices.

Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They are taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons. A non-statutory glossary is provided for teachers.
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers will teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.

Click here to learn more about English, in the National Curriculum.


Attainment targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.



For details on Okehampton Primary School's English Curriculum Overviews, please follow the page link: