Pittington Primary School | Hallgarth Lane, Durham, County Durham DH6 1AF

0191 3720314

Pittington Primary School

Welcome to our school

English Curriculum Intent

Our English Lead is: Mrs Emmerson

Our English Link Governor is: Mrs Catchpole

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

Margaret Fuller

English Intent

In order to deliver a structured, rich curriculum with clear progression of skills, we follow the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum 2014. We believe that English learning is key to accessing all other subject areas, therefore, high priority is given to the teaching of this subject within our school.

Our collective aim is simple, for our pupils to become confident, lifelong readers and writers who are fully prepared for their future journey, in education and beyond.

English National Curriculum 2014

English Implementation 

At Pittington our curriculum is structured around a selection of high quality, age-appropriate texts enabling our pupils to develop and appreciate a rich and varied vocabulary from a range of authors. We use each text to create opportunities to develop links between reading and writing. Speaking, listening, drama and first-hand experience are embedded as key teaching approaches in our school. Teaching sequences allow children to explore different purposes for writing, key elements of genres and to explore good quality examples to scaffold their own written work. The pupils learn to evaluate the effectiveness of their writing by editing, redrafting and sharing their thoughts and opinions, fully supported by adults and their peers.

Grammar is taught in context and pupils have the opportunity to practice and consolidate skills through discrete games and collaborative activities and explicit sentence level work prior to applying skills in the context of the final written outcome.

Spelling is taught discretely and is then practised and driven through the modelling and teaching of writing and linked where appropriate, to class texts and the wider curriculum.


At Pittington Primary School we strive to ensure all children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. Any children requiring further intervention are quickly identified and receive regular targeted work both in addition to and within classroom lessons.


  • To learn to read and write all 44 graphemes in the English language.
  • To encourage children to segment and blend.
  • To teach children aural discrimination, phonemic awareness and rhyme awareness in order to encourage good spelling.
  • To teach children specific strategies to help them remember tricky words.
  • To teach children specific strategies to help them remember tricky words.
  • To encourage repetition and consolidation, so that spelling becomes automatic.
  • To encourage children to apply their phonic skills in all curriculum areas.
  • To ensure that the teaching of phonics is lively, interactive and investigative.  


Foundation Stage

In nursery level 1 concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in level 2 (Reception). The emphasis during level 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

In Reception the whole class is introduced to all initial sounds during the first half term. Half termly assessments are completed to allow for rapid progress to be made. Any individuals or groups identified as needing support are quickly identified and planned for through extra intervention and smaller group work. Common exception words are taught alongside phonemes and parents are informed through meetings and our Tapestry link of how to support children at home. It is the aim that all children have a reading book as soon as they recognise single letter sounds and are blending confidently. Books are matched closely to phonetic ability and are chosen carefully by staff using our online ‘Rising Stars’ scheme and Rhino reading scheme from Reception to Year 2. When children are confident, competent readers they move to our banded books and can choose from a selection of poetry, non-fiction and fiction books.


Smooth transition arrangements allow our KS1 team to build on the foundations set in the early years within phonics learning. During the first half term in year 1 children revise their learning and move on rapidly to focus on level 5 and blending and segmenting to read longer words. The children again are taught the common exception words for year 1 and revisit common exception words from the previous year. It is expected that children will be readers by the end of year 1 and beginning to retrieve information from texts read to show understanding. Children identified through early assessment who need extra help are given it immediately and class timetables reflect this. Any child who does not pass the phonics screening check at the end of year 1 is given daily intervention by their teacher and any available support staff in class.


It is the intention that all children will be fluent readers and working within age related expectations or above by the end of KS1. Any pupils still requiring phonic/reading practise will continue with support from their class teachers through quality first teaching within sessions. These children are the first priority for intervention and extra support.


Being a confident writer and understanding how to write both informally and formally, for different purposes and audiences, has a direct impact on our pupil’s skills, not only for the next stage of their education but also their future life opportunities. Writing helps us to: explain; instruct; persuade; inform; communicate; stimulate our imagination and creativity; acquire new skills and experiences; achieve our aspirations and succeed in life.

Foundation Stage

Writing begins in nursery where the children explore mark making in a literacy rich environment. They are given a wide range of tools to use both indoors and out and have specific planned activities to develop pencil grip and fine motor control. Children who are ready to write and show an interest in forming letters are encouraged to do so. Focused tasks and staff intervention allow individuals to flourish. Our aim is that children leave our nursery ready and excited to write.

Letter formation is taught alongside phonics in reception and children practise writing for different purposes daily. Staff model formation carefully for children and constantly reinforce this daily during guided tasks. Children are encouraged to write and spell common exception words and form sentences using their developing phonic knowledge. Capital letters, spaces between words and full stops are introduced.

KS1 and 2

Our pupils are taught writing through a range of genres. Our long term plan has been designed to develop our children’s ability to produce well-structured, creative and detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the audience/reader. Particular attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English: grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Time to edit and improve is built in at various stages within each teaching sequence to allow children to improve their own and others’ writing, showing an understanding of age-related expectations.  Our curriculum allows the pupils to have the opportunity to explore high quality texts in depth, enhancing reading comprehension and providing meaningful contexts and purposes for writing. The teaching of this programme is flexible and class teachers are then, in turn, able to apply their own creativity to cover the necessary objectives. Children having difficulty with areas of writing e.g. spelling are given prompts and scaffolds to promote independence and build confidence. Homework is also tailored to address the needs of groups and individuals.


All classes have regular opportunities to practice and learn spellings appropriate to their age and phase.

  • The 'Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check' approach to learning the spelling of words is taught to enable children to practise spelling independently.
  • Children are taught to look for common letter strings, patterns in words and spelling rules.
  • Spelling games encourage children to look closely at words.
  • Sounding out words phonemically and breaking them down into syllables is taught and promoted throughout school.
  • The children are encouraged to draw on analogies to known words, roots, derivations, word families, morphology and familiar spelling patterns to support their own attempts at spelling words.
  • Words identified posing a particular challenge are taught by using mnemonics, multi-sensory re-enforcement and memorising critical features.
  • The effective use of a dictionary is taught to find words beyond the initial letter and the use of a thesaurus is taught and encouraged to expand their vocabulary awareness and choice.


We aim for our children to leave in Year 6 with the ability to write using their own style of fast, fluent, legible and sustainable handwriting, as well as other styles of writing for specific purposes. In addition to teaching handwriting during our regular handwriting lessons, we have high expectations that what is taught and practised in handwriting lessons will be used in all writing activities. We believe that handwriting is integral to a child’s personal development and know that children’s engagement and self-esteem can be improved by their satisfaction and pride in good quality presentation.

Handwriting tools

Throughout their time in school, children use a range of tools for different purposes and styles of handwriting including:

  • A wide range of tools and media for mark-making in the EYFS.
  • Whiteboard pens throughout the school.
  • Art supplies including coloured pens and pencils for posters, displays and artwork.
  • A handwriting pen for when they sustain a good level of presentation.

English Impact

At Pittington, we strive to ensure that our pupil's attainment is in line with, or exceeds, their potential when we consider the varied starting points of all our pupils. Writing is assessed half-termly and targets set with both individuals and the whole class. Parents are made aware of progress at parent’s evenings and through interim reports.  We measure this using a range of assessment materials, whilst always considering the age-related expectations for each year group. Work is regularly moderated with staff in school and with support from advisors from Durham County. Rigorous evaluation of these assessments allows for early intervention in an attempt to narrow the gap so that pupils will make at least good progress in Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening from their last point of statutory assessment or from their starting point in Foundation. We strive for our English curriculum to ensure our pupils are academically prepared for life beyond primary school and throughout their educational journey.

Equality and Inclusion

Pittington Primary School is committed to giving all of our pupils every equal opportunity in all aspects of school life. Our aim is to offer an inclusive curriculum that is relevant and adapted to the needs and abilities of all pupils. We ensure inclusive opportunities for raising self-esteem and celebrating success so that all learners can reach their true full potential.

At Pittington Primary School we are committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers irrespective of race, religion, gender, disability, belief, sexual orientation, age or socio-economic background. We provide an environment which enables every pupil to feel safe, encourages good health and wellbeing, and promotes relationships that are trustful and respectful. We believe that every teacher is a teacher of all children including those with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) and it is our duty to value each individual child to enable them to enjoy learning through an inclusive curriculum. It is our aim to continue to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which all those connected to the school feel proud of their identity, where all children have the ability to participate fully in school life, and where children are confident learners both for now and for their futures.

We tackle any type of discriminatory behaviour or prejudice through the positive promotion of equality, by challenging bullying and stereotypes and by creating an environment which champions respect for all. We provide all our pupils with the opportunity to succeed and to reach the highest level of personal achievement. We work in partnership with parents, carers, staff, governors and local services within our community to prepare children from Pittington Primary School for life in a diverse society. We believe that diversity is a strength, which should be reflected and celebrated by all who learn, teach and visit Pittington Primary School.

Fundamental British Values

British Values is defined by the Department for Education as:

  • Respect for democracy and support or participation in the democratic process
  • Respect for the basis on which the law is made and applies to England
  • Support for equality of opportunity for all
  • Support and respect for the liberties of all within the law
  • Respect for and tolerance of difference faiths and religious and other beliefs

At Pittington Primary School, we ensure that the fundamental British Values are introduced, discussed and permeate the ethos and work of the school. The curriculum provides a vehicle for furthering and deepening an understanding of these concepts.

We actively encourage the children at our school to be unique, creative, independent and open-minded individuals who respect themselves and others in our school, the local community and across the wider world.

Our aim is to nurture our children on their journey through primary school so that they can grow into caring, democratic, responsible and tolerant adults who can, and will make, a positive difference to society across Britain and the world.

Role of the Subject Leader

The role of the Subject Leader is to provide leadership and direction for their subject area and ensure that it is managed and organised to meet the aims and objectives of the National Curriculum as well as those of the school. The Subject Leader, in conjunction with the Senior Leadership Team, has the responsibility for securing high standards of teaching and learning in their subject area as well as playing a major role in the development of school policy and practice. Throughout their monitoring activities, the Subject Leader ensures that practices improve the quality of education provided, meet the needs of all children, raise standards of achievement across the school as well as raising the aspirations of all children. The Subject Leader should liaise with the SENCO to ensure that children with special educational needs are able to fulfil their full potential within the curriculum.

The Subject Leader plays a key role in supporting and motivating teachers, and other staff, across the school. Subject Leaders assist the Senior Leadership Team to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and learning to inform future priorities and targets for the subject area. The Subject Leader should lead by example, by setting high standards in their own teaching.

Subject Leaders are allocated time to monitor their subject areas. These times include staff meeting time, twilight CPD sessions and non-contact time within the school day. Monitoring activities include:

  • Observing lessons
  • Work samples
  • Talking to staff
  • Talking to pupils
  • Monitoring planning
  • Analysing data
  • Monitoring displays – this includes wall displays, Learning Journeys
  • Auditing resources
  • Questionnaire
  • External review from an eternal professional

The Subject Leader identifies needs in their own subject area and recognises that these must be considered in relation to the overall needs of the school. The Subject Leader must understand how their subject area contributes to whole school priorities and to the overall education and achievements of all pupils. There are opportunities throughout the year for Subject Leaders to discuss the strengths and weaknesses within their subject areas to a governor who is specially linked to the subject area as well as meeting with the Curriculum Committee.

If you would like more information about our English Curriculum please contact Mrs Lee, Headteacher by clicking here