Mattersey Primary School


“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

Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening 


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.  

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 as Red/Amber/Green statements help to ensure that they are very clear about how they can show their achievements in this subject.


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 space is rich with books and opportunities for pupils to develop their reading skills. We use opportunities for pupil leadership to support reading in school, with older pupils acting as reading buddies through our weekly STAR time (Sit Together and Read) to nurture our readers and to promote peer discussion of books.  

As soon as children enter Nursery, a daily rigorous programme of Phonological awareness is taught following the progression set out in phase one of the Letters and Sounds document. At the start of their Reception year, children (continue to) follow the progression set out in the Letters and Sounds document using Jolly phonics as support. EYFS and Key Stage One pupils use a phonics based reading scheme within our colour banded books, and have access to both fiction and non-fiction books. We have linked our Key Skills progression for Key Stage 1 to our colour banded reading books.

Phonics: At Mattersey we teach our children to read by using a phonics first approach to reading and by providing a rich literary environment in our classrooms. We are currently reviewing the phonics programme we use in line with new guidance. Our mixed age classes means 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.

 Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills. It starts in Nursery by building children's speaking and listening skills.  There are six overlapping phases taught throughout Nursery, Reception and into Key Stage One.




Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


In Key Stage 2, we continue to use colour banded books to engage and motivate readers within a structured progression and we regularly assess pupils to monitor their progress. We have linked our Key Skills progression to our colour banded reading books.

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.


Whole School Reading Progression: EYFS to Year 6

Reading Key Skills - Year 1 to Year 6: 


 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 and, across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, we have identified that we want our pupils to become confident in writing in four key areas: entertain, inform, discuss and persuade.

 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. Teachers and teaching assistants are therefore utilised effectively to work with groups of children to ensure they make progress. Pupils in school working at phase 6 and beyond are taught skills and knowledge in spelling, punctuation and grammar in discrete small group sessions, as well as part of English lessons.

Across Key Stage One and Two, children 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 KS1 and KS2, each unit of 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.

 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, Cover, Write, Check’, ‘Pyramids’ and more. 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 Red/Amber/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: on their RAGs and using purple pens to redraft, correct and improve their writing.


Writing Skills progression - Year 1 to Year 6: 

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 have accessed the NELI programme to support us with early language interventions for our EYFS pupils.

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 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 focus on key skills and 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 hope 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