Alton School


Our approach to English

Our English curriculum is based on the National Curriculum. Children are taught all elements of that curriculum, which seeks to ensure all children are confident speakers, readers and writers by the end of their time at primary school.

We go beyond the national curriculum through our focus on high-quality, engaging literature, which are at the root of both reading and writing at The Alton. The structure of our curriculum, and our carefully chosen wide variety of core texts, ensure that children have the opportunity to read and write a balance of different text types.

Reading: We are particularly proud of the work we have done to ensure that children have an excellent reading diet. We believe that an engaging diet of reading will encourage children to read for enjoyment as well as knowledge and comprehension.  

Writing: High-quality texts also support the development of excellent writing. Children are immersed in a rich diet of texts that have been selected to engage and excite, in order to facilitate excellence and enjoyment in writing. Within the writing sessions, children are actively encouraged to develop their initial ideas through a process of editing and revising. We publish a number of pieces of writing each term, making clear the audience and purpose of our work.


In the earlier years of education, reading (through systematic synthetic phonics) and writing (applying phonic knowledge) are inseparable.  In Early Years and KS1 children are taught phonics through a range of approaches.  The Little Wandle  scheme is followed, which is built around the 6 phases of letters and sounds.

Reading is taught using two approaches throughout our school. From Reception to Year 6, children are taught through the process of guided reading in small groups. Children will read in small guided groups with the teacher once a week, where the teacher will actively teach the skills required to be an effective reader.

All children from Reception to Year 6 have English lessons at least once a day, which include whole-class study and analysis of a reading book or text as well as writing opportunities. In addition, a number of reading enrichment sessions form part of our weekly reading diet. In reading enrichment, the teacher will read a number of core texts to the class, developing reading skills and widening the opportunities for our children to hear a rich and varied diet of literature.

From Year 2 onwards, a skills lesson introduces a combination of spelling, handwriting and grammar skills once a week. A further 5 lessons of writing take place each week, culminating with a writing enrichment (an extended period of independent writing).

Core curriculum elements

Throughout their time at The Alton, children will develop skills in:

  • Word reading (including phonics)
  • Comprehension
  • Transcription
  • Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils: 

  • 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.