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Whitchurch Combined School

Growing Today, Ready for Tomorrow

Whitchurch Combined School

Growing Today, Ready for Tomorrow


At Whitchurch Combined School, we recognise that English is a core subject within the National Curriculum and that the focus of all our teaching is to develop pupils’ abilities to use language to think, explore, organise and communicate significant meanings to enable every pupil to achieve their potential and develop self-esteem. We also recognise the importance language plays in social, emotional and imaginative development of pupils as they use language to make meaning of the complexity of human experience, and to communicate with the world at large.



Pupils are given opportunities to inter-relate the requirements of English within a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum.  They are given opportunities to consolidate and practise taught literacy skills.

We aim to:

  • Enable pupils to be taught in all subjects to express themselves correctly and appropriately
  • Enable pupils to read accurately and with understanding
  • Encourage pupils to appreciate literature
  • Enable pupils to recognise the close relationship between reading and writing
  •  Provide pupils with learning opportunities which develop and integrate speaking and listening skills, reading skills and writing skills
  • Provide real contexts for language learning in English and across the curriculum
  • Encourage pupils to have an interest in words and their meaning, and a growing vocabulary. This interest extends to the technical and specialist vocabulary of all subjects.
  • Develop the thinking skills of pupils on the path to becoming reflective, independent learners
  • Provide opportunities for pupils to use ICT to facilitate and extend their learning in speaking, listening, reading and writing
  • Recognise the importance of having a consistent view of language learning across the wider curriculum
  • Enable pupils to apply and experiment with language across the wider curriculum
  • Enable pupils to become confident spellers

The ability to read is fundamental to pupils’ development as independent learners. In order to read across the curriculum with fluency, understanding and enjoyment pupils need to orchestrate the range of strategies: applying phonic knowledge and skills, applying graphic knowledge and developing word recognition, drawing on knowledge of context and grammatical knowledge.

Reading development is closely related to that of writing, for it is by reflecting upon and talking about the texts they encounter that children come to understand how writers write and the special relationship that exists between author and reader.


Teaching and Learning


Shared Session

The reading objectives are taught explicitly in the shared session. The teacher models the reading process to the whole class as an expert reader, providing a high level of support. Sentence and word objectives can be addressed implicitly within the context of the text. Teachers’ questioning is differentiated to enable all children to access the text at an inferential and deductive level. Talk partners are used to shift the balance of teacher / child talk. Drama is used to exemplify character behaviour, response to setting and development of plot, and in non-fiction to support the understanding of text features. In KS2, a class novel is used as part of their shared sessions, although shorter texts / extracts are also used.


Guided Reading

In Guided reading, the responsibility for reading shifts to the learner. The teacher structures all reading tasks with the children, who are grouped by ability. Guided Reading is delivered outside of the normal English lesson.

Sessions include:

  • Strategy check
  • Focus question from the text objective
  • Independent reading – teacher works with individuals in turn or as a group
  • Response to text – children respond to focussed question


Independent reading

The reading objective is differentiated through the choice of matched texts. Activities related to the text are used to support access to the text.

  • Underlining and highlighting to identify particular features of the text e.g. powerful verbs, adverbial phrases, direct speech, reported speech, clues about characters, settings and plots.
  • Diagrammatic representation - e.g. story mapping, sociograms, flow charts of events, concept maps etc.
  • Sequencing - e.g. pictures from texts, lines, paragraphs, chapter headings etc.
  • Questions - e.g. children raise questions about the behaviour of characters, the choice of setting and aspects of the plot etc. Questions - e.g. about information they want to find out in non-fiction texts.
  • Drama - e.g. children act out prequels or sequels to stories they have shared.


Supported reading

Under guidance of the teacher, Teaching Assistants work with an ability group to deliver reading objectives.


Individual reading

In KS1 (and in lower KS2 for children who still need support with reading) a Reading Record Book Mark is used in class to record children’s reading strategies as readers. Reading Record Books are used to generate dialogue with parents regarding their child’s progress. Independent reading books are changed once a week, with 2 to 3 books being issued to last the week. A library book is also issued once a week, as selected by the children. Teachers or Teaching Assistants work individually with identified children requiring support to decode text to develop reading strategies.



Phonics are taught daily in EYFS and KS1 using the Letters and Sounds material and the Jolly Phonics scheme. Phonic work is given appropriate priority in the teaching of beginner readers and children are taught grapheme-phoneme correspondences in a clearly defined, incremental sequence (Letters and Sounds Phases 1-6). Phonics is streamed in Reception and KS1 so that children are in a phonics group suitable for their ability.

Skills and Knowledge Progression
Yearly Overviews - Cycle A
End of Year Expectations

GPS (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling)


Please find links below for guidance about GPS for each year group.  Please do take a look at the spelling activities guidance as well, as it provides a whole bank of interactive and fun ways to learn spellings. 


Whitchurch Combined School Values

Be Kind
  • No matter how tough your day has been for you: always be kind - Emily, Year 5.
Be Respectful
  • Accept people's ideas or games you might play on the play ground - Edward H, Year 5.
Be Proud
  • Being proud to me is doing your best work and looking for ways to improve - Freddie, Year 5.
Be Resilient
  • You don’t give up! You keep trying your best until it gets easier! - Henny, Year 5.
Be Curious
  • Being Curious to me is asking questions, being interested and wanting to try new things - Edward W, Year 5