Mattersey Primary School

English:  Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

“Without language, one cannot talk to people and understand them;
one cannot share their hopes and aspirations, grasp their history,
appreciate their poetry or savour their songs.”

Nelson Mandela

Key Documents:

English Plan Whole School 2023

MPS Progression in Reading EYFS to Year 6

MPS Progression in Writing document EYFS to Year 6

Phonics at Mattersey Primary School 2023

MPS Phonics Weekly_Scope_and_Sequence document 2023


At Mattersey Primary School, the teaching of English underpins our whole curriculum and therefore we strive to provide an engaging and highly-motivating curriculum, giving our pupils the opportunity to enrich their literacy skills in many ways and across all subject areas. We aim to develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion and to inspire pupils to read widely and often by having an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage. We recognise the importance of creating a culture where our pupils take pride in their writing and can write clearly and accurately in different contexts.

Our aim is that our pupils leave us with the confidence and ability to articulate their ideas clearly and eloquently through both spoken and written language. These vital skills will allow them future success and will enable them to reach their full potential.


Our teaching team are fully aware of the particular challenges we face of teaching multiple age groups in one class and therefore are skilled in meeting the needs of our different groups of learners, personalising the teaching of English to suit our pupils’ individual needs. Mattersey children will often receive individual inputs during lessons which help them to achieve the right next steps for them. We provide our pupils with daily distinct English lessons which incorporate both reading and writing. We use high quality texts as a central focus for our English lessons so that our pupils are immersed in them and are aware of the link between their learning in reading and writing. This starts in the EYFS, where the curriculum topics are planned in connection with high quality texts and this supports the teaching of English across EYFS and Key Stage 1. In Key Stage 2, we use the same approach where high quality texts support teaching in all areas of the curriculum. 

English is also the foundation of our other subjects and we offer our children experiences to read and write in all subjects across the curriculum. Our school reading spine ensures all pupils access a wide range of high quality texts which not only helps our pupils to be literate but also develop a love of reading, writing and purposeful speaking and listening.  We use 'books as hooks' across EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 for each topic/unit to engage pupils and enrich their learning experiences. 

In English there is a clear progression of key skills which meet the requirements of the National Curriculum for both Reading and Writing. Across school, lessons in reading and writing have a ‘Big Question’ approach, which supports children’s understanding of the key learning within each lesson. Furthermore, the Success criteria presented to children Green statements help to ensure that they are very clear about how they can show their achievements in this subject.

Reading and Phonics 


We want our Mattersey pupils to leave school being able to read easily, fluently and with good, secure understanding, but also to develop a pleasure for reading widely and often.

Reading for pleasure occurs daily and the classroom spaces are rich with books and opportunities for pupils to develop their reading skills. We subscribe to the Education Library Service to ensure we can enhance our pupils’ subject knowledge through access to a range of texts.

As soon as children enter Nursery, a daily rigorous programme of Phonological awareness is taught using FFT's 'Success for All' phonics scheme and their First Steps to Phonics programme At the start of their Reception year, children (continue to) follow the 'Success for All' programme which is worked through in clear steps of progression and supports our pupils with learning to both read and write with a daily phonics lesson and a separate reading lesson directly linked to the phonics teaching. Pupils are given a fully decodable reading book linked directly to the phonics steps being taught through Reception and Year 1. Pupils then progress on to our colour banded reading books from Year 2 onwards. In Key Stage 2, we continue to use colour banded books to track progress and to engage and motivate readers within a structured progression and we regularly assess pupils to monitor their progress. We have linked our reading progression documentation to our phonics steps in EYFS and Year 1 and to our and colour banded reading books from Year 2 onwards.

Our mixed age classes mean we have timetabled Phonics/SPAG across the whole school enabling us to stream pupils to meet their individual needs. Teachers and teaching assistants are utilised effectively to work with groups of children to ensure they make progress.

Pupils in all age groups have a range of opportunities to read involving a variety of teaching strategies; 1:1, small group and whole class reading. We recognise that comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.  This is enhanced by a broad and varied curriculum that uses ‘books as hooks’ to access to a wide range of texts, and themed literacy based days.


Our pupils follow the programmes of study outlined in the 2014 National Curriculum which aims to teach children to write through transcription (spelling and handwriting), composition (articulating and structuring ideas into speech and writing) and vocabulary, punctuation and grammar.  Throughout our school, learning is developed to cover a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry genres that meets the needs of the National Curriculum and the interests of the learners. Visual literacy is also utilised to engage pupils.

At Mattersey, we use English lessons and high quality texts to teach writing. We want our pupils to have a clear view of what high quality writing looks like to teach them to know how to plan, build, complete and improve their own writing. Our pupils are taught to write in different genres for different purposes. We use The Write Stuff and are developing our pedagogical approach to teaching writing. 

Our mixed age classes mean we have timetabled Phonics/SPAG across the whole school each morning, enabling us to stream pupils to meet their individual needs. Our phonics programme incorporates a writing focus and pupils progress through the phonics scheme and then continue onto the SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) scheme from year 2 onwards. Teachers and teaching assistants are therefore utilised effectively to work with groups of children to ensure they make progress. 

We have a handwriting scheme in place that is used consistently across school. Children in EYFS have access to a range of sensory activities which promote their fine and gross motor skill development. They are inspired to make marks independently, but also during guided activities. Once pupils have developed the appropriate skills and pencil grip, early letter formation is modelled and practiced through the use of stimulating and memorable rhymes and phrases. From Year 1 to Year 6, pupils make progress with our handwriting scheme so that by the end of Year 6 they have developed their own joined and fluent handwriting style.

Children entering Key Stage One continue to learn and use their phonic knowledge to spell words throughout this key stage. From Lower Key Stage Two and onwards, children are encouraged to spell words correctly by learning them by heart or using resources such as dictionaries and word mats. 

Spelling skills are taught from Reception through to Year 6 through the use of many strategies, including ‘Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check’. This range of strategies, enables pupils to learn their spellings in a way that is preferable to them and supports them to become competent writers. We also track our pupils spelling phase progress and offer interventions to support pupils as needed.

Across school, lessons in reading and writing have a ‘Big Question’ approach, which supports children’s understanding of the key learning within each lesson. Furthermore, the Success criteria presented to children as Green statements help to ensure that they are very clear about how they can show their achievements in this subject. The school’s marking and feedback policy also ensures that high standards of literacy are promoted across the whole curriculum. Basic English skills related to spelling, punctuation and grammar remain a focus for marking not only in English lessons but across all subject areas, as well as the promotion of high standards of presentation. Pupils are encouraged to self-assess: using purple pens to redraft, correct and improve their writing.


Speaking and Listening

At Mattersey, our aim is that all pupils develop confidence in speaking and listening so that they are able to communicate effectively. We encourage pupils to share their thoughts, feelings, opinions and ideas about their learning, and we encourage good listening skills. In lessons, there are numerous opportunities for pupils to speak and listen with each other, but also with the adults in the room.

Early identification of any speech and language difficulties a pupil may have is vital to support that child through provision outlined in our Targeted Academic Support plans. 

We provide many opportunities for children to further develop their confidence in communicating, such as through our annual musical productions, assemblies, coffee mornings, church services.  In these situations, children often take on the role of ‘host’ and this gives them a chance to communicate in a more formal way. We have also developed a culture for ‘Show and Tell’ sessions right through school and all pupils enjoy sharing with their peers and listening to each other, asking questions and learning about each other- this really contributes to our sense of being a family at Mattersey, as well as developing our pupils’ communication skills.


The impact of a well-developed and engaging English curriculum is clear. All groups of learners make excellent progress due to a highly personalised teaching approach in which each child is valued and nurtured to reach their full potential.  Using ‘Books as hooks’ means that the whole curriculum is carefully planned to be rich with quality texts.

With the implementation of the writing process being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, many genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.

The expectation for high standards of presentation from Year 1 upwards also means that children develop excellent handwriting and a well-developed understanding of the basic components of English. This is then applied across all subject areas and focused marking ensures that standards remain high throughout the whole school, thus allowing our children to produce the best work that they can. Key Stage 2 pupils can then develop their writing portfolios with their Perfect Pieces books.

As all aspects of English are a primary part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing is excellent and skills taught in English lessons are transferred into other subjects; this shows a consolidation of skills and an in-depth understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and spelling objectives.  We aim that our pupils’ literacy skills support them to succeed in all areas of the curriculum. Furthermore; our pupils’ passion for English and high aspirations continue so that they can be successful in the next phase of their education and in life.  

Thorpe Road
South Yorkshire
DN10 5ED

01777 817265