Part of the Lancaster Diocese

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Part of the Diocese of Lancaster

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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 carefully selecting 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 disciplines.

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. They 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 to the 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.

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. Our reading curriculum provides a clear, teaching sequence to reading sessions that explicitly teach reading skills and strategies through evidence -based approaches. These comprehensive units have been constructed so that the entire curriculum for reading is covered from EYFS to Year 6. Our reading lessons are designed to ensure there is a balance between teacher-led instruction, children practicing and independent application.


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. These help us to appraise the impact of our curriculum and informs teachers’ planning for the next term.

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.

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.




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 Stranton 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

Shakespeare & Drama

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Our children participate annually in the Shakespeare Schools Festival. Here our children have the opportunity to perform live on a professional stage as part of the biggest Shakespeare Festival in the world.

Poetry and Recitals

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Our Federation has it's own poetry anthology and, as our children progress through the school they encounter and learn new poems from famous poets - these range from Wordsworth to Tennyson. Our children have the opportunity to study the classics and see how society molds writers.