St James' C of E Primary School, Blackburn



At St. James’ we value reading. WE ARE READERS! We want children to love reading and know they can become editors, librarians or even presenters! We want children to realise they can achieve whatever they want to and be ‘exceptional in all they do!’ Reading has been carefully crafted to ensure that pupils are able to read a wide variety of books from different genres. This enables them to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. We want pupils to develop a love of reading, be able to understand what they have read and have a good knowledge of different authors. We want children to learn from their local area and we want children to know that reading can be taken anywhere! For example, for World Book Day staff took pictures of themselves reading in a variety of locations to inspire pupils. At St James’ we want pupils to have access to a wide variety of books appropriate to their reading age and ability and choice. This develops the pupil’s appreciation for our literary heritage.

At St James’ we are WRITERS! We want children to love English and know that they can become novelists, journalists or even a teacher of English! We aim to encourage all children to be independent writers for a range of audiences across different text types. Pupils will be taught to apply their knowledge and skills across a wide variety of genres, including challenging texts. They will be expected to apply this in all areas of the curriculum and independently. Themes have been carefully developed around quality, challenging texts building children’s resilience. Our aim is for pupils to leave St James’ with a love of reading and writing; and be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly through speaking and listening. We want children to remember their lessons and give them opportunities they may not be able to experience outside of school. For example, Blackburn Rovers players discussing their favourite books with the children.

The skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society and will leave St James’ well equipped for experiences in later life.


The English curriculum has been created to ensure that high standards of teaching and learning are taking place across the school. English is taught daily throughout school, focussing on a non-fiction text, a fiction text and poem every half term, covering objectives stated in the National Curriculum. It allows adequate time for the subject to be taught and ensures the children’s knowledge is secure and is being retained into their long term memory.

The English curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression. Children will be able to access a curriculum which will allow them to gain a coherent understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Key vocabulary and key learning is emphasised and displayed in the classroom, which supports multilingual children with their vocabulary acquisition and understanding to support their learning and understanding throughout each topic.

A curriculum overview has been created for each half term which highlights and outlines the objectives to be covered within each text type. Staff are encouraged to start each lesson with a ‘warm up game’ followed by a recap of previous knowledge to ensure that the children understand the objective and are able to apply their knowledge. English lessons are taught discretely, with meaningful links made across subjects where appropriate. For example, in Year 3 pupils explore ‘A Street through Time’ linking to the History Stone Age topic.

As a school, we believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their own learning. Within each year group, English strands are revisited in a progressive manner to ensure that children have the opportunity to build upon previous skills and knowledge.

In order to encourage pupils to leave St. James’ with a love of reading and writing, we use drama, storytelling and ‘talk for writing’. This encourages pupils to develop their understanding of books and what they are writing. We use a variety of resources to supplement our children’s reading, through Accelerated Reader and other published schemes, such as ‘Project X’ and generic novels. Staff and pupils use Accelerated Reader to instil a love of reading and assess pupil’s understanding of a book. All pupils across school also take a free reading book home to promote a love of reading. We set high expectations for all pupils to take pride in their work and follow the Penpals for Handwriting scheme in key stage two. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own handwriting style once they have learned all of the joins. Pupils in key stage one follow the Read Write Inc. Handwriting. Once they are able to form letters accurately, they move on to joining letters. By the end of key stage one, pupils move on to the Penpals scheme ready for key stage two.

At St. James’, we aim to promote a love of literature from an early age. It is vital that all pupils leave key stage one being able to apply different strategies for reading. We have a fidelity to ‘Read Write Inc.’ programme developed by Ruth Miskin. The children are taught the sounds in three sets and books are linked to the sounds they are learning; supplemented with additional reading materials. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills, as well as preparing children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. 


Read Write Inc Phonics Programme


Daily phonics lessons are provided for EYFS and Year 1 following the ‘Read Write Inc.’ programme. In Read Write Inc. lessons, children learn to read accurately, fluently and with good comprehension. Pupils are taught ‘tricky words’ so that they can read words that are not phonetically decodable. Pupils are given strategies to help them decode and blend. This helps support their phonological awareness.

Please follow these links for extra resources from Read Write Inc:

What is Phonics?
How to say the sounds
How to teach blending
Information on the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1

For further information on how Phonics is structured across Reception and Year 1, please click here for a parent booklet and/ or see below:

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In key stage two, teachers plan reading sessions using the six reading domains: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Sequence/Summarise (VIPERS). These help to support comprehension and new vocabulary.

Daily reading sessions are provided across the whole school. We focus on vocabulary, inferencing and comprehension skills. We listen to children read on a regular basis and use Accelerated Reader and teacher assessment to ensure pupils have the correct book for their reading age.

Accelerated Reader 


Click on this link to find out Mrs Wright's reading recommendations


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Oxford Owl - useful reading resources

Early writing is taught through mark making. Once children are ready to write, they are taught the correct letter formation. Children begin to write CVC words before moving on to writing phrases and simple sentences. All EYFS children are given opportunities to write independently during continuous provision. This is encouraged through presenting work to the whole class and placing work on display boards.

We identify children who need support and provide reading and writing interventions. Teachers plan and deliver English lessons which are differentiated to meet the needs of all learners. The teaching of writing is based on the ‘talk for writing’ from Pie Corbett. During the initial imitation stage of writing, pupils are immersed in the story or text language through the use of story maps or drama until they internalise the language of the text.  The process then allows pupils to innovate where they alter parts of their story or text type to varying degrees depending on their age.  Finally, pupils produce their own independently invented version of the text which is assessed using the writing descriptors.

Grammar and punctuation is taught through daily English lessons as much as possible. However, we also teach grammar as standalone lessons.  Grammar and punctuation is linked to the text type being taught so that children have the opportunity to apply these skills throughout different genres of writing.

Spellings are taught following the Read Write Inc. Spelling which is a 15-minute-a-day programme for Years 2 to 6. Using a proven approach underpinned by phonics, fast–paced lessons and an online subscription, Read Write Inc. Spelling prepares children for the higher demands of the statutory spelling assessments in England. Children are taught different spelling rules and these are practised at home from their own 'log book.' Children complete half termly spelling assessments which help inform teachers planning. Click on the icon below for further information and access to the Extra Practice Zone:

RWI spelling.PNGParent/ Carer workshops help support multilingual children with their vocabulary acquisition and understanding for reading and writing. We also hold meetings on phonics for Reception and Year 1, Reading meetings and SATs meetings for Year 2 and SATs for Year 6 so that parents know the age-related expectations.

Reading, Writing and Grammar are assessed on a regular basis through formative and summative assessment. Accelerated Reader, listening to children read and NFER resources support teacher assessments on Reading. Spelling is assessed through weekly tests and summative assessments are used to assess spelling, grammar and punctuation. Writing assessment is ongoing throughout every lesson with independent pieces of writing assessed and moderated. Phonics Screening Checks are used to support teacher judgements. Additional assessment tools include: Prior Learning quizzes, End of Unit quizzes, Challenges, Pupil Voice, marking of books and book scrutinies.


By providing an English curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth knowledge of writing genres, texts, grammar, punctuation and spellings rules, being able to read a wide variety of texts. Children will be able to plan, draft and write whilst proof-reading to check for grammar, punctuation and spelling. They will be able to speak and write fluently. They are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations and demonstrating to others. For example, through exceptional learning worships and parent worships.

They should leave St James’ with a fondness for English, remembering their inspiring lessons and experiences in school. Pupils will be resilient and independent learners knowing how to write for a purpose. Here at St. James’ pupils love to read books. They are able to discuss books with excitement and interest, and have a good knowledge of different authors. The impact is children make good progress and learn transferrable skills.


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English Curriculum Overview 2023-2024

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Progression of Skills: Reading
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Progression of Skills: Writing

World Book Day March 2022

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St James' C of E Primary School Earl Street, Blackburn BB1 8EG
Headteacher Mr D Stitcher
SENDCo J. Cameron (KS1&KS2)
R. Limbada (EYFS)
Enquiries should be addressed to Miss R Heyworth.
Telephone 01254 698335
Office Hours Monday to Friday 7:45am to 4:00pm