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Norton Fitzwarren Church School

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I am the good shepherd - John 10:11

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How we teach English at Norton Fitzwarren Church School 


Speaking and Listening


The ability to speak and listen is fundamental to children’s language and social development. At Norton, we will develop our children’s ability to be able to confidently articulate their learning and emotions.   


We believe that pupils need to be provided with many and varied contexts for talk, but they also need direct teaching in the skills of speaking and listening, we assist this using sentence stems. The

necessary skills are taught through P4C [Philosophy for Children], drama work, role-play, presentations, and productions.  We

encourage these to be taught through the whole curriculum. The children understand the importance of listening as well as speaking and every class have discussion guidelines or talking toolkits to assist them with their oracy. We are part of the Voice 21 project.





Reading Books to go home. 


In Foundation and KS 1 a variety of different reading   schemes are used ; these  are phonetically decodable and  should  support their daily phonic lessons.  We use Early Literacy from Renaissance Learning to track individual children’s reading ability. Some children in Yr. 2, when ready, will take a star reader test and use Accelerated Reader books

After taking an initial Star Reader test, most children in Yr. 2-6 will use the Accelerated Reader scheme completing comprehension and vocabulary (if available) tests at the end of each book. The results will determine whether the child needs to stay at the same level or move up. Please speak to your child’s class teacher if you have any questions about when your child moves up a level. We encourage and reward children with team points for reading 5 times or more a week. Every child will have the opportunity of gaining a certificate for being our weekly STAR READER. We also have word count

rewards as part of Accelerated Reader.


Independent Reading in class


Children will be expected to read independently in class. The timings of this will depend on the age of the children and may be linked to Accelerated Reader targets. Some children are targeted for additional reading by the class teacher, teaching assistant or adult volunteer. We encourage partner/ buddy reading where more able readers support others. 

Books in class

Each class will have topic boxes (normally non-fiction). These books will be used to read for pleasure as well as learning. The classroom will also have an author focus. This will sometimes link to a unit of work or again, just for reading for pleasure. These will be changed every half term and displayed in a book corner/area.

Class Readers


Daily, each class will be told a story, poem or have a story read to them. Foundation and Yr 1 will enjoy a range of picture books. Year 2 upwards will enjoy picture books as well as set class novels.


Guided Reading


In these sessions children are directly taught reading skills. The children will work on decoding, increasing their vocabulary, inference skills as well as written comprehension.  Short texts, extracts and longer texts are used through poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.  

Children across the school will also have time to reflect on what they have read through independent and supported tasks. 

We have an annual BOOK WEEK to celebrate reading and promote our ethos of reading for pleasure.

Extreme Reading Competition.

We have Reading Shed, available for the children to access at unstructured playtimes.

Each half term, the books in the shed have a different theme. This includes for example: diversity, challenging stereotypes, and life in modern Britain.


We are a ‘Talk For Write’ School.


How we teach writing


The programmes of study are taught through fiction, non-fiction and poetry blocks normally lasting 2 or 3 weeks. There are times we identify that there is a need to focus on specific skills and may spend time addressing this. We are a ‘Talk For Write’ school and employ the technique of imitating orally the language needed for a particular topic, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. We plan regular writing opportunities across the curriculum where the children write short and extended pieces of writing. ‘Toolkits’ are widely used as success criteria along with targets to help move writing forward. We aim to have a ‘WOW’ start or finish to each unit and focus strongly on the purpose of what we are writing and who we are writing for.

Grammar and punctuation are taught discretely when the children are learning a new concept, but then reinforced through modelled writing by the teacher and then through the pupil’s own written work.


Phonics and Spelling

In the foundation and Key Stage 1 classes, daily phonics lessons are taught through the Read Write Inc scheme programme. The children are taught how to read and spell using phonic strategies and how to apply this knowledge to their own written work.

From Yr 1 onwards, children are taught a weekly spelling focus. Throughout the week they are allowed time to extend their understanding through games, written activities and time to practice. In KS 1 and 2 there is a weekly spelling list/ pattern sent home to practice.


High Frequency Words

These are words that cannot be ‘sounded-out’ but need to be learned by heart. They don’t fit into the usual spelling patterns. At our school we call these RED words in EYFS and KS1 as they are part of the Read Write Inc program.  In order to read simple sentences, it is necessary for children to know some words that have unusual or untaught spellings.

In KS2 we have Spelling Awards (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) which include the words that children are expected to know in Years 3 – 6. The children are expected to

learn these words at home and school, but only a few a week to build up to achieving the challenge.



Handwriting is taught using a cursive script, not least because the school recognises the value of a fluid cursive script to enhance spelling skills. We teach the children to recognise the letters written in a simple non- cursive style from the beginning of EYFS, and they begin to write in a cursive style once they have good letter formation.  This is usually around the end of Year 1 and in Year 2. We follow the Nelson handwriting Scheme.

Children are encouraged to use a cursive style in all their work, and by the end of Key Stage 2 to have progressed to developing their own style. To ensure all children hold their pencil correctly, they are encouraged to use a pencil grip where needed.  The school uses black handwriting pens which the children use once they have achieved their ‘pen licence’. Good presentation of all writing is encouraged and is standard throughout the school.

Bath & Wells MAT