Phonics – English Policy

 Malmesbury Primary School

English Policy

This policy reflects the schools’ values and philosophy in relation to the teaching and learning of English. It sets out a framework within which teaching and non-teaching staff can operate. It gives guidance on planning, teaching and assessment. The policy should be read in conjunction with the Early Learning Goals and the Planning for progress document for Nursery and reception, the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2, the Primary Strategy, and the units of work produced by Tower Hamlets Literacy team.

At Malmesbury Primary school we are concerned with the development of the whole child.

Good communication skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening are crucial for children throughout their lives and are pivotal for all learning in every curriculum area. English is an integrated and fundamental component of the whole Primary curriculum We aim to develop a literate environment where literacy is at the core of learning. Children develop the skills of literacy and are able to apply them in different situations across the curriculum and in daily living outside school.

We promote the use of good language skills for:

  • The expression of one’s own needs, feelings, emotions and spirituality
  • The understanding of each other’s needs feelings and spirituality.
  • Resolving misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Ascertaining information to make sense of the environment.
  • The acquisition of knowledge for personal interest and pleasure.
  • The acquisition and sharing of knowledge, data and skills to improve people’s lifestyle through scientific, medical and technological development.
  • The expression of creativity through writing, poetry, singing, composing music.
  • Most jobs in the workplace.
  • Literacy is not taught simply to prepare pupils for a qualification required by future employers – It is a language for life!


At Malmesbury we aim for children to:

  1. Listen attentively, paying attention to detail, to process the information and retain aurally as much as able.
  2. Speak confidently and competently with regard for their listener.
  3. Read fluently with good comprehension, which is reflected in appropriate expression and intonation from a wide variety of texts at their own level for information, pleasure and relaxation.
  4. Develop their cognitive skills, imagination and personal expression through a range of writing tasks using clear, concise language with accurate punctuation and grammar in a style appropriate for the purpose.
  5. Make progress along the continuum to becoming a correct speller using neat legible handwriting.
  6. Make fair critical responses about their own language work, that of their peers and that of popular authors and poets.
  7. Mature socially through working collaboratively in groups and in pairs.
  8. Develop confidence in each of the above areas and use these skills for a variety of purposes.

The teaching of reading at Malmesbury Primary School aims to..

  • To develop happy, healthy and curious learners who read confidently and independently for pleasure and for information
  • To develop lifelong enjoyment and pleasure in reading
  • To enable children to access all areas of the curriculum
  • To enable children to access, understand and begin to manage information
  • To begin to understand the meaning of what is read to them and what they read
  • To begin to respond to what they read; to say whether they like or don’t like it and why
  • To begin to understand and respond to the feelings that words can arouse in us like happiness, sadness, anger
  • To begin to understand that this experience allows us to make connections with other people

Wherever possible literacy units will be taught within the context of the National Curriculum and make links with each terms topic. We follow the structure of the National Literacy Strategy, being based on the use and development of units of work, Attainment Targets and Level Descriptions

We provide continuity and progression in Literacy, which enables children to work confidently as they move from class to class.


We use the following to plan with

  1. Primary Framework
  2. The ‘Letters and Sounds’ strategy.
  3. Units of work: – LI’s, links to topic work and literacy within the Curriculum Framework, Tower Hamlets exemplar plans.


Effective planning ensures

  • That there are achievable learning intentions for all pupils.
  • That work is matched to pupils’ abilities and experience.
  • That the teaching is differentiated by input, task or outcome.
  • That the teacher’s time is employed effectively throughout the lesson.
  • That there is progression and continuity.
  • Balanced coverage of the framework throughout the year.
  • Those pupils are appropriately grouped for the task e.g. in ability or mixed ability groups/pairs for collaborative activities or individually for independent work.

Termly and weekly planning takes place in Year group teams to ensure continuity and progression across the school.


In the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) the teaching of reading is based on the area of learning Communication, Language and Literacy in The Early Years and Foundation Stage (EYFS). The ‘Letters and Sounds’ Phonics scheme is also delivered in the nursery covering stages 1 and 2.

In Key Stage 1 and 2 the teaching of reading is based on the National Curriculum for English and the Framework for teaching literacy and also what we know and believe is successful about teaching children to read.

In line with guidance from the framework for literacy our teaching objectives cover three key strands:

  1. Word reading skills & strategies
  2. Understanding and interpreting texts
  3. Engaging with and responding to texts

These strands reflect the new conceptual framework for reading described in the Rose Report

Teachers will plan to have:

  • Formative assessment of reading strategies, range, response, attitude and tailored teaching.
  • Teaching with clear objectives ( read aloud, shared, guided and independent)
  • An integrated reading/writing curriculum
  • Quality texts provisions for a wide range of genres
  • Support for book selection, promotion and reflection on reading
  • Parental involvement and effective partnerships
  • Print rich classrooms and school

Word reading skills and strategies

Every day each child will be engaged in

  • Speaking, listening, reading and writing activities which allow them to explore and practice their phonic knowledge, blending and segmenting skills independently
  • An interactive multisensory phonics or spelling sessionn
  • Shared reading and/or writing led by the teacher to demonstrate reading and writing strategies (including phonics) in a meaningful way
  • A rich and regular ‘Read aloud’ programme (story time)
  • A Guided Reading session where they will be either taught by an adult or have meaningful independent activities.

Shared reading

The teacher models the reading process and the children are actively involved; listening to the text being read aloud, joining in and following the reading, and contributing to discussion and response. Children learn how to apply the knowledge and skills they are acquiring in daily word level work. The teacher leads discussion about the text to help children develop their understanding. Children learn how to interpret and make sense of what they read.

Guided or group reading

Takes place daily in all year groups. Each group will read once to the class teacher in KS1 and 2 and twice in reception.

A skilled adult works with small groups of children who are able to read at a similar level. The adult scaffolds the learning by guiding children through the text and prompting them to apply what they’ve learnt in shared reading and other literacy activities. A specific structure is followed (see appendix). Children who are not reading with an adult will complete age appropriate independent tasks to consolidate their learning.

Range of texts

Pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through the following ranges


  • Stories & poems with familiar settings and those based on imaginary or fantasy worlds
  • Stories, plays & poems by significant children’s authors
  • Retellings of traditional folk & fairy stories
  • Stories & poems from a range of cultures
  • Stories, plays & poems with patterned & predictable language
  • Stories & poems which are challenging, in terms of length and vocabulary
  • Texts where the use of language benefits from being read aloud and reread

Non-fiction and non-literary texts:

  • Print & ICT-based information texts
  • Dictionaries, encyclopaedias & other reference materials


The materials and activities provided for pupils on a daily basis should be appropriate for their literacy level whatever their age. Each session should offer differentiated activities enabling each child to thrive at their own level achieving the learning intention set. Some children will be working on targets from their IEP, which tie in with the learning intention for that lesson.

  1. We identify underachieving children through:



– Planning for SEN children’s individual needs.

  1. Strategies for support.


-Early Words

-BPP support

-Focus groups.

-Reading partners

-Reading recovery.

Children with SEN, and/or learning difficulties or disabilities will work towards the same objectives with support. Those working well below the level of their peers will be working on a related objective appropriate to them. The SENDCo will arrange specific interventions if appropriate.

Children who are gifted and talented will be working to deepen or broaden their understanding of the objective which may sometimes be from a later year.

Children learning English as an additional language (EAL) will receive appropriate support to enable them to access the objective.


At Malmesbury Primary School we identify barriers to learning and put in place strategies that enable all children to learn to their full potential. Pupils with special educational needs will be given the level of support and materials necessary to ensure their full participation. Differentiation by task and outcome will address the needs of both these and gifted and able pupils.

We are committed to:

  • Providing opportunities for collaborative learning and equal access to the curriculum in terms of race, gender, age and ability.
  • Using resources to reflect the needs of pupils.
  • Planning work which values the range and extent of experience and expertise within the school, both pupils and adults.
  • Utilising and supporting linguistic and cultural diversity.

We have different initiatives set up for children in different year groups to support them in their learning.

Assessment data informs class teachers, subject leaders and phase leaders of any children who may require a short term intervention. They may also be highlighted or discussed at PRMs.

  • Early Literacy Support (E.L.S.) in year one for children who are working at 1c
  • Reading Recovery – (year one) delivered by a trained teacher.
  • 1:1 daily reading interventions for specific children who are not making expected progress or are attaining below expected levels across the school.

Children work on their targets in class with the support of designated adults and we work closely with different outside organizations.


At Malmesbury we believe that assessment should be




The English Subject Leader is responsible for ensuring that there is a standardised approach to recorded assessment through annotation and marking work.

In the nursery, assessment takes place in the form of observations, which are carried out by all members of the nursery team and recorded on standard observation sheets. These are used to feed next week’s planning.

Records are also kept of children’s individual reading on a weekly basis.

Guided reading records are kept for each group of children in the class, which show which books have been read and the skills and strategies children are developing.

Each term children will be assessed on their letter sound correspondences (where appropriate) and their knowledge of High frequency words in reading and writing. The High frequency words will be taken from the literacy strategy lists.

At the end of the year the assessments will be assimilated on to one sheet and passed on to the next teacher so children can be planned for appropriately and repetition of work is avoided.

The end of Key stage 1and key stage 2 tests (SATS) in Year 2 and year 6 and baseline assessment in Reception are carried out and used to assess pupils’ performance in relation to National statistics and for the setting of targets within the school. These are then reported to parents.

In addition teachers will make a written comment on every child’s progress in literacy in the end of year reports. Teachers also have the opportunity to meet with parents formally at least once a term to discuss areas of concern or improvement.

Assessments include running records where appropriate

Writing – Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) in Writing is used to monitor, track, assess and level KS1 and KS2 writing for all children.

Each term a teacher assessment is made against the level descriptors, assessing the level of writing the child is working within. This is recorded in the class collection sheet in the pupil profile entitled ‘English – Writing’. This information is also added to the Literacy attainment profile and the Whole School Tracker. The aim is to track children’s progress or lack of progress and then to act on this information. Therefore when ability grouping children, deciding on focus groups for interventions and other support; this needs to be referred to.

Ongoing assessment is linked to the learning intentions for each lesson. These assessments are integral to each lesson and should inform our planning. These are done through discussion, questioning, marking etc. Marking should be reflective, stating what can and can’t be done and what needs to done next. Teachers should use blue pen to record comments and use a green highlighter for what the children were able to do well and a yellow highlighter for areas of development. Marking should be initialled to indicate whether an additional adult (OA), supply (S) or a teacher (T) has marked the piece of work. Children use green pen to self and or peer assess work. Editing symbols should be used by adults and children when checking and improving work.

Handwriting and presentation – Handwriting is taught in a separate handwriting book in KS1 and KS2. The school follows the Nelson Handwriting Scheme to structure letters and joins. Teachers need to model explicitly the way letters are joined before children can practice and apply.

Errors are crossed out by drawing a line across the word/sentence.

Early Years The Early Years have an assessment procedure more specific to the needs of younger children based on regular observations. These are recorded on an observation sheet and are used to inform subsequent planning.

Grammar and spelling is taught in addition to the literacy hour. In KS2 Support for Spelling is used to plan and develop progression in spelling. Grammar for Writing and Alan Peat’s ‘Writing Exciting


for learning (formative)

  • Observation of children during guided reading sessions
  • Questioning (using questions linked to assessment focus during guided reading sessions)
  • Discussing with a partner
  • Verbal feedback from adult linked to success criteria
  • Running records using the PM Benchmark 1 Kit (there is one kit for each phase)

-of learning (summative) will be recorded in

  • Guided reading record sheets (twice a week) see appendix
  • Individual APP sheets (half termly)
  • Reading records ‘monkey books’ (whenever children change books)

We use assessment data to give each child an individual reading target and inform our planning.

The subject leader for reading moderates the reading levels across the school to ensure children are levelled accurately and consistently across the school.

Standards and expectations

Our school’s expectations are that broadly speaking the range of attainment in each class will be as follows:


The majority of children should be able to recognize, read and write most letter sounds, their own name and some familiar words. Can follow simple instructions and relay a short message.


The majority of children should be working on the reception framework preparing for Year 1 in order to achieve the Early Learning Goals at the end of Reception. Provision will be made for some children working above the Early Learning Goals in some areas of literacy where appropriate.

Year one.

A significant number of children will be working comfortably at the expected level for Year 1 and some aspects of greater depth. The majority of the class will be making progress from the year one framework towards expected year 1. Some pupils will need support via an IEP and staff expertise to maintain progress.

Year two.

The vast majority of pupils will be working on the year two framework at expected level for year 2 with some pupils working towards greater depth. A minority will be working at beginning year 2 and some children will need support via an IEP and staff support to maintain progress towards level 1.

End of year expectation: Expected level for Year 2

Year three

The majority of children will be working within expected level for Year 3. Some will be working at beginning year 3 and some will be supported through an IEP.

End of Year expectation: Expected level for Year 3

Year four

The majority of children will be working within expected Year 4, some will be working at beginning Year 4 and some will be supported through an IEP.

End of year expectation: Expected level for Year 4

Year five

The majority of children will be working within expected Year 5 some will be working at greater depth. The minority will be working at beginning year 5 and some will be supported through an IEP.

End of year expectation: Expected level for Year 5

Year six

The majority of children will be working at expected Year 6, some will be working towards greater depth. The minority will be working at beginning year 6 and some will be supported through an IEP. End of year expectation: Expected Year 6


Literacy resources are stored in each classroom and many are also stored centrally in libraries.

The English coordinator is responsible for the management of the school libraries, which home all non-fiction reference books. These are classified by subject with a colour coded spine label to make it easier for pupils to find books that are of interest to them. A simplified Dewey Decimal number is also placed on the label so pupils are introduced to the system of classification used in all public libraries.

The school uses the Junior Librarian program to issue books to children so that records can be kept on library users and returns.

A selection of fiction is also kept in the library.

At the end of each academic year books made by the children are put in to the library so they can be shared with others.

Guided reading books are kept in the library and the small cupboard on the upper floor and are colour coded in line with National curriculum levels to make it easy for teachers to find books for their pupils at appropriate levels or grouped according to year groups.

Enlarged text (e.g. Big books and poetry cards), puppets and story tapes are also kept in the library.

The English Subject Leaders are responsible for the maintenance, review and ordering of resources.

Teachers are responsible for the care of books in their classroom and the monitoring of books going home. Broken books will be mended if possible by the Teaching Assistants and the English Subject Leaders informed if resources are beyond repair so they can be replaced.

We also have access to the literacy room and library at the PDC where teachers can borrow games, books etc.

   –Favourite author packs

   –Books in the classroom include big books and all other books needed

-for teaching literacy for the whole year. From nursery to year 6.

   –Big books based in both libraries.

   –Guided readers

We have yearly resource audits for staff to use.

Use of IT

Children are given the opportunities, where appropriate, to develop and apply their ICT capabilities in their study of literacy, for example, Literacy support games, word processing, combining text and graphics and the use of the internet and email. Children also use ICT as a means of communication and we aim to produce ICT literate children. Children in KS2 will also use as part of their Literacy work. 


The subject leader is responsible for monitoring learning and teaching through a mixture of classroom observations, planning monitoring, work scrutinies and analysis of children’s progress. Specific information about what is monitored in each curriculum area, and how often, can be found in the monitoring policy.

We monitor by:

  • Learning walks during guided reading times/story times
  • Collection of guided reading records
  • Conversations with children
  • Formal observations of sessions

The subject leader provides reports to phase leaders, Deputy Heads, Headteacher and Governors as requested. The School Improvement Committee of the Governing Body oversees the implementation of this policy.

Professional Development

The subject leaders for English and phase leaders will ensure that all new teachers to the school are supported and inducted appropriately to enable them to teach English at Malmesbury Primary School. Individual support will be planned according to feedback from observations as appropriate.

Staff meetings will be planned and delivered according to the school’s needs.

Reading at home

Each child takes at least one book home a day

We recognise that children make better progress when they are supported at home and when there is good communication between child-school-home

We communicate with parents by:

Home school reading diaries; communicated at parent consults

Nursery & Reception

Phonics workshops


Parents meetings

Reading mornings

We value the vital role parents play in their children’s education and want to encourage them to be involved in their learning as much as possible through regular communication.

We have a business partnership with Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw, who send reading volunteers in to read with children twice a week.