Mater Christi Trust

Mater Christi Trust
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St Cuthbert's Catholic School

St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School




English Mission Statement



At St. Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School we want to make learning vivid, real and enjoyable.  We are an inclusive learning community and children here will develop their ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes.  Using a range of texts (written, spoken and media based) our children use language to explore and express ideas, views and feelings which enhances both self-confidence, wellbeing and future opportunities.




  • To promote and nurture skills of speaking and listening so that our children can maximize learning opportunities whilst building the confidence, desire and ability to listen carefully as well as express their views and opinions orally.
  • To provide a rich environment that promotes a culture of reading and writing.
  • To develop in our pupils a love of books and literature that will not only support their learning across the curriculum but also enrich their lives.
  • To promote in our community pleasure for reading.
  • To explicitly teach reading skills throughout the school that continually develop children’s understanding and enjoyment of texts.
  • To teach children the craft of writing so that they develop confidence and skills to write well for a range of purposes and audiences as well as enjoyment and creativity.
  • To have an interest in words and their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • To teach the basics of phonics, spelling, handwriting and punctuation and thus facilitate creativity.
  • To ensure that this “learning bus” of basic skills stops at regular intervals as children progress through year groups to offer opportunities to revisit, consolidate and provide “catch up “opportunities for our children.
  • To value and celebrate diversity in culture.


Intent – What do we aspire for our children?


At St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School, every child is given the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become analytical readers and competent authors. We promote the enjoyment of reading by using high quality texts that are used to develop learning across the curriculum. By constantly providing our children with the skills to read, they are able to broaden their knowledge in a range of subject areas. We know that decoding skills must be taught explicitly and rigorously and early reading is taught through daily phonics and reading sessions.


Children are exposed to a word-rich curriculum. Through immersion in high quality texts , teachers identify and explicitly teach rich and varied vocabulary, providing them with the tools to become confident communicators, readers and writers. By doing this, we endeavour to close the vocabulary gap for our most disadvantaged children.


Carefully planned writing lessons allow our children to develop their skills, by adapting their oracy and language for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Children are given a variety of opportunities to apply their skills across the curriculum using language effectively to create a desired effect on the reader. By the end of Year 6 our children will have had a multitude of opportunities to master skills in speaking, reading and writing that will prepare them for secondary education and beyond.


Implementation – How will we deliver the curriculum?


We use a ‘read to write’ approach in our teaching of English, to develop and improve both reading and writing skills. We use carefully selected, vocabulary rich texts as a vehicle for teaching reading and writing.


Using Oak National Academy as our base structure, children follow clear based learning around an ambitious model text, that allows them to develop vocabulary, contextualised spelling, punctuation and grammar. Units start by engaging children in a variety of oracy and reading activities, so that they fully understand the text and are able to ‘read as a writer.’ Reading as a writer is a key component of our approach as children analyse the model text to understand the techniques the author has used and the subsequent effect on the reader.


Throughout the writing process, the teacher models writing and undertakes shared and guided writing to develop the children’s knowledge and skills. This will then conclude with a piece of independent writing.

By using this approach to writing our curriculum is coherently planned to ensure that all objectives are taught and revisited throughout a year group and age phase. Progression is built into the English  curriculum to ensure an appropriate level of challenge at each phase.

At St Margaret Mary, we teach spelling in context within our units of work. In addition to this, we use the ‘Read Write Inc’ spelling scheme for daily sessions. Class teachers also carefully plan additional spelling sessions if needed for those children who may need further support and development. This ensures that the children are taught the full breadth of spelling patterns appropriate to each year group and age phase.


Our coherently planned reading curriculum ensures that we teach all aspects of decoding, word reading and comprehension through high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Using Oak as our scheme for English, our reading lessons are designed to ensure there is a balance between teacher-led instruction, children practicing and independent application.


The Success for All scheme is used to teach synthetic phonics in a structured, rigorous way that is paced appropriately and aids rapid progression in decoding skills. This scheme is used from Nursery to Year 2 inclusive. Children who need additional support are given extra phonics booster sessions delivered by either a teacher or teaching assistant, using familiar materials from the Success for All scheme. Guided reading for Reception-Year 2 is also taken from the same scheme.


Impact – How do we know our English Curriculum is effective?


Each half term, our children produce a piece of high quality, detailed extended writing based on a focus text. Writing is planned, drafted, re-drafted and then finally written into Star Write books as a celebration of children’s achievements. Through their learning in clear, detailed teaching sequences, we believe children have become more knowledgeable and skilful authors and readers, they will then be able to articulate their understanding with confidence. This is why pupil voice is an important tool in assessing whether children have made progress. These writing tasks help to create a portfolio of examples of writing which feature as part of our in-house moderation. Further to this, our children submit work to be assessed and moderated nationally through the use of Comparative Judgement – this gives our children a national score in line with their peers. Furthermore, each term, children complete a standardised reading assessment. Younger children (Reception to Year 2 inclusive) are assessed using the materials from the Success for All. This highlights areas of strength and areas for development. All our assessments help us to appraise the impact of our English curriculum and informs teachers’ planning for the next term.


Termly, we conduct pupil progress meetings that involve the class teacher and members of SLT to discuss and identify individual children who may need extra support. These meetings provide a holistic view of the child’s development including data, contextualised information and an overall view of how the class is progressing in their learning. Time is dedicated at the end of each school year for class teachers to hand over data and information about their class to the next teacher to ensure the best possible transition.

Reading for Pleasure







At St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School we believe that reading should be a pleasurable and inspirational experience. As part of our vision and values, we want our children to be enthused by books and grow into adults who will actively choose to read and who will pass their love of books onto future generations. We believe that children who read for pleasure deepen their understanding of the world around them and develop their compassion towards others. A book can transport you through time, take you to exotic destinations and allow you to be inspired by brave, heroic deeds. All of our children have access to books and we want the thrill of reading to encourage them to aspire to achieve their dreams.

The 5 Plagues of Reading

In his book ‘Reading Reconsidered’, Doug Lemov points out that there are five types of texts that children should have access to in order to successfully navigate reading with confidence. These are complex and demand more from the reader than other types of books.

The five text types are:

Archaic Language

The vocabulary, usage, syntax and context for cultural reference of texts over 50 or 100 years old are vastly different and typically more complex than texts written today. Children need to be exposed to and develop proficiency with antiquated forms of expression to be able to hope to read more complex texts.

Non-Linear Time Sequences

Stories where time flows back and forth in a complex manner not just flows in one direction.

Narratively Complex

Some books have more than one narrator telling the story or non-human narrators such as the horse who tells the story in Black Beauty.

Complexity of story

Where the plot and symbols used are more complicated for example interwoven plots.

Resistant Texts

This refers to texts which are difficult to understand, texts that deliberately resist comprehension. You have to assemble meaning around nuances, hints, uncertainties and clues.

At St Margaret Mary we look to introduce our children to a wide variety of books that cover these 5 plagues - be this in our well sourced library, classroom reading areas, class novels or Poetry Anthology.

Our Literary Street Art Trail

Strive for Five Reading Challenge


In school, we encourage all children to read with an adult, or to themselves, at home at least five times each week and ‘Strive for Five’!


Children who demonstrate this commitment to reading are rewarded with certain bookmarks for reaching certain milestones:

‘Committed Reader’- After you have ‘Strived for Five’ five times.  

‘Star Reader’- After you have ‘Strived for Five’ another five times (10 times in total).  

‘Outstanding Reader’- After you have ‘Strived for Five’ another seven times (17 times in total).


These bookmarks are awarded to children in our fortnightly ‘Celebration Assembly’.


In addition, those children who ‘Strive for Five’ consistently throughout the year also receive a Special Commendation Award at the end of the school year, where they receive a book token and a special reward. This could be an extra playtime, a movie, or even a sweet treat!

Strive for Five - Committed Readers Spring Term 2023

Going for Gold Reading Challenge


As you know, encouraging our children to read for pleasure and enjoying books is one of our key priorities. There is strong evidence that links reading for pleasure with educational outcomes and it is of great importance that there is a connection between home and school in encouraging children to read.


This term we will be launching our ‘Going for Gold Reading Challenge’ which focuses on book talk and breadth of reading.

There are three challenge cards in total to be completed over the course of the academic year; bronze, silver and gold. Each card has 8 reading challenges that are appropriate to that year group. You will find challenges that encourage children to read each day, read a wide variety of books and also share their reading with friends, teachers and family. Once they have completed the whole challenge children will receive a prize!


Once your child has completed a challenge, please initial and date the circle next to it on the challenge card or record in their Reading Record. Some challenges involve your child sharing their reading with a friend, their class or their class teacher. When at home your child can complete this part with a parent/carer or sibling.


Children are encouraged to take their time with the reading challenge. It is designed to take the majority of the year! Please support your child in completing the challenges by talking to them about their reading regularly.


We are sure that the children are going to enjoy completing the reading challenge and discovering lots of new books. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. This reward scheme will run alongside “Strive for Five” as a means of enriching the experience of reading.

Reading can take you anywhere and tell you anyone's story...



Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. By the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes.

Our intention is to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.


  • To develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters, which leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing.
  • To establish and maintain high expectations for the presentation of written work.
  • For pupils to understand, by the end of Year 6, the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letterforms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.

All teaching staff are encouraged to model the cursive style in all their handwriting, whether on whiteboards, displays or in pupils’ books.

Consistency throughout the school
Pupils should experience coherence and continuity in the learning and teaching of handwriting across all school years and be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their work. Our objective is to help pupils enjoy learning and developing their handwriting with a sense of achievement and pride.

Handwriting frequency
Handwriting is a cross-curricular task and will be taken into consideration during all lessons. Formal teaching of handwriting will be carried out regularly and systematically to ensure Key Stage targets are met.

Pens and pencils

Children will start handwriting using a soft pencil. When fine motor skills have been established a handwriting pen can be used. More competent pupils can use a ballpoint pen.




For children who experience handwriting difficulties due to fine motor development, including those who are left-handed and those with special educational needs, the appropriate additional support will be put into place. Letter-join’s Lesson Planners all include differentiation activities for extra practice/challenge.

Handwriting at Home

Pupils are encouraged to practise their handwriting at home by using the Pupil log-in for Letter-join. Teachers will set specific tasks such as:

  • Magic Patterns
  • Magic Words
  • PhonicsMatch
  • Word Search
  • Word Bank
  • Write it Right!

Children can also watch the word and letter animations and practice and explore other handwriting resources on Letter-join.

Theatre Trips - Bugsy Malone, The Borrowers & Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

KS1 & EYFS Pantomime Visit

Shakespeare School's Festival

Poetry Recitals

Still image for this video
Daffodils by William Wordsworth




Oracy is to speaking what numeracy is to mathematics or literacy to reading and writing. In short, it's nothing more than being able to express yourself well. It's about having the vocabulary to say what you want to say and the ability to structure your thoughts so that they make sense to others.


  • Oracy supports learning – including developing creativity and critical thinking in pupils.

  • Oracy is vital for social mobility – supporting children’s ability to fulfill their potential in later life.

  • Oracy is good for social and emotional learning – helping children who may struggle to work with or play well with others.

  • Oracy opens doors to opportunity – extracurricular activities such as debating, youth parliament and volunteering bring a wide variety of benefits and opportunity.

  • Oracy is empowering - giving children the skills to develop a ‘voice’ and speak out about things that matter to them.

(NACE – March 2018)

A partnership with Voice 21 will help us in our desire to:

  • Create momentum within our school to raise awareness of the value of oracy

  • Build a whole School culture of talk, across the curriculum and beyond the classroom.

  • Strengthening classroom practice – ensuring all teachers are confident in using oracy as a core pedagogy and drawing upon evidence-based practical classroom activities.

  • Continuously improve our practice using the latest research and evidence on the impact of oracy

Spelling at St Margaret Mary



At St Margaret Mary Catholic Primary School, we follow the Read Write Inc. Spelling scheme in Years 2-6. The Read Write Inc Spelling scheme is a 15-minutes-a-day programme.


Using a proven approach underpinned by phonics, fast–paced lessons and an online subscription, the delivery of the Read Write Inc. Spelling scheme ensures spelling success for children who are fluent readers.

Through our subscription to the Read Write Inc scheme we also have an online subscription to the Extra Practice Zone which is accessible from home. This can be accessed at

The log in details for each class are shared with parents and children.


Using these log in details, you can also access a range of free eBooks to help your child practice their reading at home.


Children from Nursery – Year 6 are able to use their log in details to access free eBooks from home on Oxford Owl.