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English Lead: Mrs Schofield

English Governor: Mrs Angela Sterling 

English at Catchgate Primary School


At Catchgate we believe that the English curriculum should develop a love of reading and writing.  We also place high importance on the ability to discuss and communicate confidently.  We want children to develop speaking and listening skills using a wide vocabulary in discussions and to further their learning. 


We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge base in English, which follows clear progression as they advance through the primary curriculum.  We believe that developing a secure basis in reading, writing and speaking and listening skills is vital in delivering a high quality curriculum.  We want our children to leave primary school as confident and literate individuals. 


The Little Wandle Phonics programme we follow ensures children develop early reading skills with a huge emphasis being placed on vocabulary and reading for pleasure.  

How is English taught at Catchgate Primary School?

In our school we use Talk for writing as the basis for our English curriculum. This is based on a training programme led by Pie Corbett for which all staff completed two years of training.

We go through three stages of writing for each text we study; these include imitation, innovation and invention.

In the imitation stage we do lots of reading of the class text, mapping the story and drama activities so the pupils fully understand the story and can write it.

In the innovation stage the pupils change different aspects of the story to make it their own; these changes could include different characters, settings, time periods and lots of other innovations.

During the invention stage the pupils will write their own story based on the theme of the text, so maybe a wishing story, a beat the baddie or a portal story. for the whole range look on the whole school text map.

Throughout all the stages the pupils will complete short burst writing activities which will teach them the skills they need to read, deconstruct texts and write their own. These activities are all based on the class text and include spelling, grammar and vocabulary activities. Games are encouraged to support the class teaching an to engage the pupils in their learning.

Non-fiction writing will also be based on the class text and covers a wide range of genres including diaries, biographies, instructions, explanations and information texts.


Phonics and Early Reading.


How we teach phonics

  • From September 2022 we are beginning to implement Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. 
  • During Early Years children's phonics journey begins in Nursery with Little Wandle 'Foundation to Phonics' through everyday activities and provision.  These include tuning into sounds in the environment and lead to orally hearing and saying sounds in words. We focus on daily oral blending and language development through high quality stories and rhymes.
  • At Catchgate we then continue to visit aspects of early phonics throughout Phases 2-5. 
  • Children in reception and Y1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.
  • In Reception teaching of Phase 2 sounds begins within the first 2 weeks to ensure the children make a strong start. 
  • By the end of reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4. 
  • By the end of year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5. 
  • Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending – increasing to a longer session of up to 25 minutes as soon as possible.
  • In Year 1 lessons are 25 minutes long. When children move to Year 2 and 3 phonic lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate – following the model of Little Wandle but specific gaps will be identified through assessment and addressed. 
  • In Years 2 to 6 there are planned phonic ‘catch-up’ sessions following a set model to address specific reading/writing gaps. These are short, sharp sessions lasting 10 minutes in length and taking place at least three times a week.

Reading practice sessions

  • Children across reception, year 1, year 2 (and beyond if appropriate) apply their phonics knowledge by using a full matched decodable reader in a small group reading practice session.
  • These sessions are 15 minutes long and happen three times a week on. a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There are approximately 6 children in a group.
  • The sessions follow the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised.
  • The children then take the same book home each Wednesday and read this book at home, returning it on Monday of the following week, to ensure success is shared with the family.
  • In reception these sessions start by week 4. Children who are not decoding, do a little blending lesson, following the model set out in Little Wandle Letters and Sound Revised.
  • Children will bring a reading for pleasure book home to share with an adult.  This book is to look at together with a focus on vocabulary and developing a love of books. 

How do we assess phonic knowledge?

  • In reception and year 1, at the end of each week there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher’s ongoing formative assessment).
  • Children identified in reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and ‘keep up’ sessions are put in place – sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme.
  • In reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker.
  • The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
  • Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2.
  • Children who are in Year 2 to 6 and need ‘catch up’ sessions are assessed through teacher’s ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments.


To find out more information about how we teach phonics and early reading follow the link below to the parents section of the Little Wandle website. 

Phonics and Reading Policy September 2022

Guided Reading Policy

Contact Details and Useful Links