By the end of Year 6, we want all of our pupils to at least achieve the objectives set out in the 2014 National Curriculum and we strive to offer opportunities to develop skills above and beyond this. In order to achieve this, we appropriately support those that need additional interventions and aim to help as many children as possible to build on their successes in Key Stage One and attain ‘Greater Depth’ in all areas of the English curriculum. Our curriculum is carefully designed and mapped out to ensure that our pupils acquire the knowledge and skills required in a sequential and progressive manner. It is regularly reviewed and adapted so that it is relevant to the needs of our pupils and reflects the world they live in.

It is our intention that all pupils will be able to read and understand accurately and confidently by the time that they leave us. As a school, we strive to create an environment where reading is seen as a pleasurable and worthwhile activity. We aim to expose children to a wide range of ambitious texts to broaden their experience and increase confidence in reading and writing. The Subject Lead has spent time designing a roadmap of reading books that are used – see appendices. Recently, we have noticed that our pupils’ vocabulary has been diminishing, and it has become a priority to widen their lexicon so that they will be able to use a richer range of vocabulary in both oral and in a written form.

Our aspiration is that this focus on reading and vocabulary will then enable our pupils to write competently and with confidence in a range of contexts, using and applying their grammatical knowledge & skills in academic and everyday life. In order to help achieve this, during their time at Oaklands Junior School, we offer the children a wide range of opportunities to apply their ‘English’ skills in cross-curricular activities and tasks.

At the end of Key Stage 2, we expect that during their time at Oaklands Junior the children will also have acquired a deeper knowledge of spelling rules which they then will be able to apply in their work.

Many of these skills and ways of learning tie in particularly well with our ‘Thinking School’ philosophy as well as our ‘Oaklands’ Mindset’. Through the use of ‘Thinking Maps’, ‘P4C’ and other ‘Thinking Tools’, it is our intention that the children will be able to use and apply the English skills that they learn to help develop their knowledge and understanding of all areas of the National Curriculum. Furthermore, during French lessons, we aim to create links between their learning on French with their understanding of English – for example in the use of grammatical terms, reading, speaking, listening and writing skills. 

Finally, through lessons, ‘special events’ and regular assemblies, our ambition is that all children will leave our school not only with a love of language and literature but also the ability to communicate effectively and understand how important a role their ability in English will play in their future successes.

Following the COVID pandemic, we recognise the impact that the lack of face-to-face teaching has had on the children’s progress in English. Although daily lessons were provided as part of our remote learning provision during lockdown, we are aware that we will need to revisit some key concepts from previous year groups.

Nb. A detailed breakdown of the curriculum, some of the texts and books used and what is taught in each ‘stage’, can be found in the appendices.


Teaching and Learning

The teaching of English takes places in all areas of the curriculum, whether it be in an English writing lesson, interrogating written sources in history, writing up investigations in science or researching artists in art. Although we do not specifically have a thematic approach, we do endeavour to link topics and subjects.

English lesson plans are designed with specific learning and assessment opportunities in mind and can focus on one or more of the following: reading, writing, phonics, grammar, spelling, drama, speaking, listening and / or handwriting. As such, depending on the focus of the session, they can last between 15 minutes and an hour.  The lessons are designed to be progressive and build on prior learning, whether it be in reading, writing or grammar. Lessons plans also include activities and teaching interventions to support the less able and to extend the more able.

The lesson activities are challenging, varied and interactive and develop listening, reading, speaking and writing skills, building on existing understanding from previous and current year groups. Interactive whiteboard resources are used, and a wide range of additional resources have also been purchased with regards to books, schemes of work and access to useful teaching websites such as Literacy Shed+. The school also has a large number of dictionaries and thesauruses which are used regularly in lessons. In addition to these teaching resources, each class has a class library, which is used to promote reading. We also have a very well stocked library, which has recently been reorganised, and a ‘Reading bus’.

Marking and Assessment

When marking, teachers use Next Step codes and marking acronyms in order to help identify areas for improvement as well as focussing on objectives that the children have achieved. NS codes vary from piece to piece and marking acronyms are clearly displayed in every class as are ‘Presentation boards’. Every class has a dedicated class reading library, that the school has invested significant amounts of money in, following research about the best books for each year group and children also got to choose some of them. Every new English book has a piece of work from the end of the previous year group, a spelling list (which is regularly updated following termly spelling tests), a list of key marking acronyms and a grammar glossary.

It is expected that formative assessment takes place in every lesson and this then informs the planning and teaching of subsequent lessons. Teachers regularly update the ‘Oaklands’ Assessment System’ which records pupils’ attainment against objectives in reading and writing. For writing, a teacher’s assessment is primarily based on a child’s last piece of writing in a unit (most units lead to a piece of writing which is usually written up as a final draft on ‘gold’ paper); grammar and spelling tests are also used to supplement assessments. Assessment in reading is a combination of formative assessment during reading sessions and formal reading comprehension tests (NFER and Headstart).

Interventions and Support

As well as whole class teaching, a wide range of English-focussed interventions take place in every year group at Oaklands Junior School, both inside and outside of the class, including phonics, reading, writing and handwriting. To support spelling interventions, the iPads are used using the Doodle app, to complement our use of an adapted version of the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme. At Oaklands Junior School, we invest a significant part of our budget in Teaching Assistants, with every year group having two full-time TAs. They are treated as equals and are regularly invited to staff meetings and training sessions. A significant number are HLTAs and most of the TAs have been in the school for a number of years. This level of availability, training and experience helps us to run regular interventions to help children make better progress. 

Recently, we noted the need for more phonics interventions for the Year 3 cohort and so we have invested in general training not only for the Year 3 staff but also for all Teachers and Teaching assistants in all year groups.

Last year, we made the decision to follow the Sounds Write phonics programme used in the infants in Years 3 and 4 to ensure consistency across the schools in our phonics approach. 3 phonics sessions per week are now included in the weekly timetables for Years 3 and 4.

Spelling and Grammar

In January 2020, following a CPD training day, the SLT took the decision to follow academic research and introduce regular (3-5 times a week) grammar and spelling retrieval sessions in order to help the children retain key spelling words and grammatical terms, as it was felt by all members of staff that this was an area that the children were finding challenging (and this was also seen in our Year 6 SATs). Since starting these retrieval sessions, we have noticed a great improvement in children’s retention of spelling and grammatical concepts. This pedagogy built upon our change in the teaching of spelling, which was implemented in 2018, when we elected to have daily spelling lessons and change spelling homework, as we felt that it was not as effective as we had hoped. 


At the same time as introducing regular grammar and spelling retrieval sessions, we also re-organised every year group’s timetable to create a ‘Daily Read’ slot. These 15-minute sessions are now ‘enshrined’ in our timetables and they provide an opportunity for the children to stop and listen to a book for enjoyment. It is a time for them to be exposed to a text that they may be unfamiliar with for the sheer pleasure of listening to a book. We feel that this is an extremely important part of our day and something that children and staff look forward to.     

After analysing the trend of our Y6 Reading SATs results, it was felt that we needed to improve our current teaching of reading. This resulted in each year group having a more balanced approach to guided reading and reading comprehension sessions. Furthermore, after discussions with our SIO and having spoken to our local schools, in Spring 2021, we started to introduce the teaching of active reading strategies using VIPERS – a way of teaching the children about the different type of questions that can be asked. This had led to very positive outcomes at the end of Key Stage 2.  

Again, in reaction to what had been identified as an issue by the SLT and staff, in Spring 2021, we have extended our reading scheme so that children stay on it for longer. We have also stated that reading homework must be of a book that either the school as lent the child or has been agreed to be of an appropriate challenge for their reading level. This was implemented as we were finding that many ‘free-readers’ had a relatively poor literary diet and we felt that we wanted to expose them to a wider range of more challenging books. When this was introduced, an explanatory letter was sent out and an evening webinar was offered to all parents. 

As well as a range of lessons and interventions, we have also run regular events such as author talks (including numerous virtual talks during the pandemic), reciprocal reading between year groups, access to the ‘Big Red Reading Bus’, a school newsletter written by Year 6s, reading buddies with, World Book Day and book fairs. These events have always been great successes, engaging pupils across the school; they help to create a positive, stimulating environment around the subject.

Miss Noad, the English Subject Lead, and other senior staff also do regular reading assemblies, including during lockdown. These assemblies are aimed at promoting the love of reading and raising the profile of English.


As well as raising the profile of reading, raising standards in writing at Oaklands has been a key area of development. The English Subject Lead and other members of staff have undertaken external CPD which they have then disseminated to all staff. As a direct result of this, a trial of using some cherry-picked ‘Talk for Writing’ techniques combined with one of our ‘Thinking Maps’ was implemented, and then, due to its success, rolled out to all year groups.

Within lessons, teachers regularly use a range of techniques to teach writing including whole class shared writing, guided writing with groups and ‘hugging the text’.

Handwriting is taught explicitly to whole classes in Years 3 and 4 on a weekly basis (using ‘The Handwriting Rescue Scheme’). Furthermore, interventions are also run in all year groups as required.

In order to help drive up standards in writing across the curriculum, from September 2021, all writing in foundation subjects is now done in ‘oversized A4’ books. This was following a successful trial in Year 3, as it was felt that this would help children to take more pride in their work and focus on the quality of their writing in the afternoon. 

Beyond the classroom

In order to support our children’s learning, regular English homework is set in all year groups. This involves using Doodle to complete grammar and reading tasks as well as spelling and reading homework.

Furthermore, a number of years ago, a termly ‘Pride’ award was introduced to raise standards and highlight the importance of presentation and always doing your best: each teacher picks one child who has shown particular pride in their work. This and the ‘Give me 5’ (5 key things for the children to remember in their work) initiative were in direct response to a perception at the time that the children’s presentation skills were not at the required standard. In 2020, we also introduced a termly progress award for one child in the school who has made accelerated progress in their reading and / or writing.

Subject Leadership and Monitoring

As part of her subject leader role, Miss Noad also undertakes learning walks and speaks to children to understand the strengths and areas of development within our current provision for the teaching of English. A yearly pupil voice survey was instated in 2021 for all year groups to understand the current strengths and challenges that we are facing from the children’s perspectives.

Over the last couple years, Miss Noad has worked closely with our MAT’s SIO team and established links with schools within The Corvus Trust, including our local secondary school, which have enabled us to share good practices, undertake staff training and participate in moderation exercises.

Regular English focussed training has taken place in staff meetings, as well as frequent opportunities to discuss what is working well and what challenges we face. One of our key strengths as a staff, both classroom-based and at a senior level, is the fact that we have a very open and honest working relationship which enables us to support and challenge each other in our pedagogy, as well as openly discussing current and potential future practices.

In order to assist parents with helping their child and in response to parent feedback, videos were posted on the school website during lockdowns about reading with your child and Mr Lee ran a ‘Helping your child make even better progress’ webinar. Prior to the pandemic, parental workshops about reading and homework were also run.

Response to the Pandemic

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has been discussed at length during staff meetings and the Subject Lead has highlighted some objectives that need to be revisited by each year group: particularly in reference to the key skills that are on the children’s target cards. Following discussions at SLT meetings, and in consultation with teaching and support staff, it was agreed that we would use a ‘Quality First Teaching’ approach for spending the ‘Covid catch up funding’: the money is being used to fund class cover so that class teachers can take out small groups of children. For the past two years, once a week, two groups of 6 pupils (from across the year group) are taken for a maths or English intervention. These 45-minute sessions enable the class teacher that takes the session to focus on specific objectives and gaps that have been identified through formative and summative assessment. Moreover, it also enables the teacher to reinforce this learning more effectively back in the classroom in the lessons that follow.


At the end of Year 6, Oaklands Junior school children:

  • Have developed a love for reading across a range of genre.
  • Are exposed to high-quality texts and use a variety of strategies to unpick their literacy choices, purpose and impact.
  • Can write for different purposes and of a high quality, which is transferred across all subjects.
  • Respond to feedback from teachers by independently editing and improving their own work.
  • Have a rich vocabulary and a curiosity to explore language.
  • Communicate clearly and confidently when performing and presenting.

Children at Oaklands with Special Educational Needs are supported through interventions and differentiated tasks and make good progress with their learning.

The impact of our implementation can be monitored in a number of ways: through learning walks and lesson observations; examples of children’s work; moderation meetings (both internally and with our cluster schools); planning scrutiny; pupil voice surveys; parent surveys and teacher assessments (both summative and formative).


Teacher Assessment and End of KS2 Results

Each half term, our class teachers monitor the impact of their teaching by assessing their class’ work against their stage objectives. This data enables the teacher to assess the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and plan subsequent lessons or interventions for individuals accordingly. The English Subject Lead, Assessment Co-ordinator and other members of the SLT monitor the assessment grids and the data provides a basis for appraisal targets.

Since we have been focussing on embedding a reading culture, we have noticed a rising trend in the end of KS2 reading results. Last academic year, we were so impressed with our Year 6s as 87% of the cohort were working at the expected standard in reading, with 40% achieving greater depth. This strongly indicates that the strategies that we have put in place to support reading have been effective. Upon analysis of these results, our aim for this academic year is to further embed the specific teaching of VIPERS in order for the children’s knowledge and attainment to continue to rise.

Similarly, since we have embedded daily grammar retrieval into our timetable in addition to our weekly grammar sessions, we have noticed a rising trend in our GPS results. 97% of our pupils were working at age related expectation in their end of key stage tests with 63% achieving greater depth.

Alongside the National trend, writing has remained to be focus for us at Oaklands following the global pandemic. As a result, our COVID recovery catch up interventions last year were focussed around writing. This allowed teachers time to complete invaluable targeted interventions to support individuals and small groups with there writing. We were very pleased that 78% of our Year 6s were working at the expected standard and 22% achieved greater depth standard, which was above both the Wokingham and National average.

Pupil Voice

At the end of Summer 2023, we conducted Reading and Writing surveys with children in each year group. Here, we were able to ascertain children’s perception of their abilities within each subject, their enjoyment of lessons and identify barriers that they have to learning.

In our reading surveys, we found that children at Oaklands are confident readers. 79% of children feel that they are above average readers, which indicates a strong sense of self-esteem in relation to reading amongst our school. In addition, we have found that the high-quality books that we have purchased for our book corners and libraries promote an enjoyment in reading. 74% felt that our school and class libraries encouraged children to read. However, some children commented that they would like more say in the books that are in the class and school libraries. Therefore, we would like to involve the children more in the process of choosing new books to replenish our selection. The results also highlighted how our children feel highly motivated to read at home, primarily due to the fact that they enjoy reading so they read for pleasure. However, whilst 62% said that they read enough, 24% of children felt that they do not read enough and would like to read more. They outlined that reasons for not reading enough include finding more books that interest them, owning more books and having more time to read.

Following analysis of our writing surveys, we have found that our children have a high self-esteem with how they regard themselves as writers. 74% of our children believe that they are above average in their writing. In addition, only 13% of our children say that they rarely enjoy writing lessons. Similarly to last year, we identified from this survey that children’s desire to write more stories and to choose what they write. Therefore, we are continuing to hold annual ‘Free-Writing Weeks’ where the children will have the freedom to be creative in their writing.

Learning Walks and Observations

In recent learning walks and observations, the English lead and SLT have identified that year groups are being taught a range of strategies to help them with their writing, including through drama activities, shared and modelled writing. The next steps identified from these learning walks are to continue to fully embed the teaching of these writing strategies to improve attainment and children’s confidence with writing across the school.

Visit from School Improvement Officer

In the Autumn term of 2022, we had an arranged visit from a school improvement officer from Wokingham, who focussed on the teaching of English. In his report, he noted the following strengths:

  1. The development of Literacy is led by a very enthusiastic teacher.
  2. The Literacy lead has looked at all the relevant documentation on the teaching of writing e.g. Information from the Education Endowment Foundation.
  3. The school engages in both the Trust and LA moderation activities, and moderates in-house.
  4. A range of appropriate teaching strategies are in place to support pupil progress.
  5. An effective link exists between the teaching of reading and writing, and challenging texts are used to promote discussion and inspiration.
  6. Reading areas are in place with books linked to the topic.
  7. ‘Working walls’ and supportive teacher-led displays provide additional support for pupil learning.
  8. Pupils are happy to talk about their learning, and engage with adults easily.

Next Steps

As a school, our next steps are shared with all staff and sufficient training is provided to meet these targets. This academic year, as our priority is writing, we have allocated staff meetings to support the development of this subject for both the teachers and TAs. Teaching and support staff’s appraisals also reflect our school’s writing target so the progress of each class can be easily accessed and monitored.