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St Mary's Catholic Primary School

St Mary's Catholic
Primary School


Writing Curriculum

Reading Curriculum

Phonics Curriculum


At St Mary’s we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. Our aim is that by the end of Reception children will be able to read words and simple sentences, become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading as they continue to move through the school. The systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, following Phonics Bug is given high priority in Reception and Key Stage 1. Through phonics children learn not only the sounds, tricky words and high-frequency but to segment and blend words. Children need to learn these key sills to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1. We value and encourage the children reading for pleasure and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills – enjoying success and gaining confidence from a positive experience.

Our aims:

By the end of Reception all children will have a secure understanding of Phase 2 and 3 sounds and tricky words. They will be able to segment and blend words both orally and written using sounds from these phases. Children will also start to learn phase 4 tricky words in the Summer Term of Reception and consolidate their knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words.

By the end of Year 1 children should have completed the Phase 5 sounds, and they should be able to read and write all the common exception words for year 1. For the phonics screening check we expect to at least be in line with the National Expectations for the Phonics Screening Check.

Ensure that children’s reading books show progression in phonics knowledge that match the phoneme-grapheme correspondences they know to support decoding skills.

Encourage independent learners who are resilient and have a stamina for reading.

By the end of Year 2 children will be reading for pleasure and not learning to read. Children will acquire word-specific knowledge, choosing the correct phoneme from several possibilities.


Through the teaching of phonics using the Phonics Bug programme the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Reception and KS1. Phonics Bug is a systematic synthetic programme which means that the phonemes (sounds) associated with particular graphemes (written letter/s) are pronounced in isolation and blended together (synthesised). For example, we teach the children to take part a word, such as cat, into its single sounds c-a-t and then blend them together to make cat.

Each lesson follows this structure

  • Review/revisit – Previous sound/s learnt also tricky words. Oral segmenting and blending.
  • Teach – New phoneme/grapheme. New tricky word/s.
  • Practise – Writing new sound. Segmenting and blending with the new sound, spelling words using the new sound.
  • Apply – Reading words/captions/sentences. Activities to secure new knowledge learnt.

Staff systematically teach learns the relationship between sounds and the written graphemes or spelling patterns which represent them. Phonics is taught consistently across the school. Lessons are taught at a fast pace to ensure that children are engaged for the sessions. Teachers use the same resources, flashcards and teaching strategies such as chopping boards.

Phonics is applied and reinforced when appropriate throughout the day. Reading and writing is evident in areas of provision in Reception.

Children’s decodable reading books are carefully matched to their phonic knowledge. We use Phonics Bug reading books which are organised by phonic phases and are fully decodable. Children take home a library book every week which are non-decodable and also help to develop their love of reading.

We hold phonics information workshops to help parents support their child.

Reception and KS1 have Phonics working walls which are used to encourage the children to become more independent when reading and writing.

Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure they are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge. This includes extra 1:1 reading for those who are most vulnerable to enable them to catch up to meet age related expectations.

All teachers are confident using the Phonics Bug assessments and scores from the Phonics screening check are added to Insight – the schools' data tracker. The Phonics Bug assessments are used regularly to assess children’s knowledge, so teacher can put into place interventions if needed.

Extra support is given to those in Year 2 and 3 (where appropriate) who have not passed the Phonics check in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children.


As a result of high quality phonics provision, children make good progress from their starting points. The vast majority are ready for the next stage in their education as they transfer through Reception, Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2.

Children enjoy listening to adults read and develop a love of reading, gaining satisfaction from their growing success in developing independence and fluency.

Reading outcomes are inline if not better than the National Expectations.

Phonics screening check results are inline if not better than the National Expectations.

However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments and can be seen in success across the curriculum as children progress through school.

Phonics - Key Stage 1 scheme used is Phonics Bug and the reading scheme is also Phonics Bug.


At St Mary’s, our curriculum is driven by our school drivers: whole child, community and communication. Our Reading curriculum is underpinned by a range high quality texts, exposing children to a variety of authors and characters from different backgrounds and dealing with different themes. Our reading curriculum is then supplemented with a variety of additional literature, such as non-fiction model examples or poetry, to expose our children to a breadth of genres of writing. Our curriculum ensures that children are exposed to a range of text types across the year, allowing them opportunities to explore, analyse and produce their own pieces of writing in these different genres. This aims to broaden their whole child experiences. At St Mary’s, we are passionate about exposing children to vocabulary that they can use in their spoken and written language. Every reading lesson, begins with a focus on vocabulary that will be explored in their key text or key extract for that session. We have a different vocabulary focus each day, to ensure that children can be exposed to vocabulary in a multitude of ways. Additionally, children have lots of speaking and listening opportunities, to develop their communication skills.

Along with this, we aim to ensure that children are explicitly taught the punctuation, grammar and spelling (SPAG) that fits in with the text types being taught. Both the text types and the SPAG that are taught, are then repeated throughout the years, to ensure optimum coverage. At St Mary’s, we are passionate about the need for children to revisit and revise their skills and understanding, so that they are able to apply their learning across all areas of the curriculum, thus enabling them to consolidate their literacy skills. Alongside this, our aim is that children are taught the specific reading skills that they need, in order to fully comprehend texts.

By exposing children to a variety of different genres and text types, we aim to instil a life-long love of reading, writing and literature. Alongside this, we aim to achieve this philosophy by:

  • Enabling children to develop and explore their English skills with confidence and an awareness of their audience.
  • Encouraging children to work in groups, pairs and independently in their subject through various activities; drama, debates, writing for an audience
  • Teaching basic reading and writing skills, enabling them to apply these across the wider curriculum
  • Building on their understanding and comprehension skills
  • Exposing them to a high quality key text as our centre focus
  • Modelling to children exemplar pieces of writing, enabling them to use this to effectively edit and improve their own written work.
  • Celebrating and encouraging reading and writing across the wider curriculum.


As our curriculum is rooted in exposing children to high quality texts in reading, this enables literacy to be supported across our broad and balanced curriculum. Our writing can then be is then supplemented with a model piece of additional literature, linking with the focus text type for writing. Where possible, these are linked across our wider curriculum. Our high quality text, ensures that children are being exposed to a vocabulary rich curriculum. Alongside this, we have ensured that vocabulary is at the forefront of our reading lessons, by having focused vocabulary sessions at the beginning of each reading lesson.

Our Writing curriculum has been mapped out, to ensure optimum coverage of a range of text types, as well as the relevant SPAG linked with this. There are then opportunities across the school for revisiting and consolidation. For reading, our reading lessons are specifically focused on a reading skill (Retrieval, Inference, Summarising, Predicting, Language, Authorial Intent). These are explicitly taught to children so they are aware what the skill is, allowing them to then apply this learnt skill, in all areas of our curriculum. Throughout each week, children will learn to apply these reading skills to both their key text and the supplementary extracts. Reading is essential in order for children to access our curriculum and wider life, so we are passionate in ensuring that reading underpins our whole curriculum.

The children take part in class and whole school assemblies, class masses, parish mass and whole school masses, performances, harvest festival, speeches, debates, Fundraising council and school council. These all enable children to apply their speaking and listening skills. These further link with our school drivers of community, communication and whole child.

Parents/carers are informed of our topics and areas of coverage at the beginning of term, which enables them to support their children with appropriate experiences. Parents/carers are provided with resources on how to effectively read with their children and question them. Parents in KS1 and Early Years, are offered Phonics and Early reading training to further support them with this.

Teaching assistants and class teachers are provided with the necessary CPD in order to enable them to effectively embed our English curriculum. This is then monitored by the subject leader and head teachers.

Additionally, in keeping with our school drivers, children are also exposed to:

  • Daily story time in all classes, where children listen to an adult reading aloud
  • Daily phonics sessions in EYFS & KS1
  • Daily whole class reading sessions for KS2
  • 5 reading sessions every 2 weeks, for KS1
  • Access to the school library where children can borrow high quality texts to read for pleasure
  • Access to class book corners, which promote a love of reading.
  • Book related activities yearly for World Book Day
  • Book fairs
  • Visits/experiences linked to writing or reading.
  • EYFS & KS1 children heard on a 1:1 basis weekly.
  • EYFS & KS1 children have access to Phonics bug e-books (phonetically decodable), in addition to a physical reading book.
  • Interventions in place across the school, for identified pupils, for both reading and writing.


This will be seen in our daily English lessons, with teachers adapting as they see fit to the needs of the children in their class.

Our impact will be demonstrated by the children in the class, as to how they talk about their English lessons.

Our impact will be clear by the progress made by our children at all the assessment points throughout the year. Alongside how many children leave St Mary's having achieved the expected standard.

Children will enjoy listening to adults read and in turn develop a love of reading for pleasure.

Children will produce pieces of writing in a range of different forms.

Children will be exposed to experiences that will develop them as a whole child.

All pupils will be encouraged to respond to weekly next steps, to push their learning on. They will also be encouraged to peer and self-assess during lessons, to identify areas of improvement and strength.

Half termly, teachers will assess a piece of children’s writing against the National Curriculum ‘Expected’ levels for that year group or Key Stage. Teachers will use this to inform their judgement for future lessons and support for individual pupils.

Termly, children from Y2-6 take part in a PIXL reading assessment to assess their comprehension. These will also be used to assess gaps in pupils learning and teachers use this to plan future lessons for children.

The subject leader will monitor the standards of children’s work and the quality of teaching in English. Feedback from this will be given to ensure improvements are made or consistency ensues