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English Rationale


English is the language of learning in every curriculum subject.  English allows children to learn independently and is therefore empowering.  At Newnham Infant and Nursery School the teaching of English  is enjoyable, motivating and challenging.  We teach basic skills and provide a rich, meaningful and engaging learning environment.  We strive to inspire a love and appreciation of English and ensure that every child becomes a competent reader and writer.  



At Newnham Infant and Nursery School it is our intent to provide children with a board, balanced and challenging English curriculum.  Children will embark on an exciting journey that supports and develops their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

The children will become confident speakers who initiate and engage in discussions with others.  We will equip children with the necessary skills required to become capable and confident readers, thus providing a lifelong love of reading and literature.  By immersing the children in a rich variety of texts we will inspire their imagination.  Children will develop an extensive vocabulary and their use of grammar that will inspire them to write clearly and accurately for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.  By developing children’s reading and writing we aim to prepare them for lifelong learning. 



These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. Our English curriculum provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, comprehension, writing, speaking and listening and grammar. Pupils are immersed into a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and through engaging lessons they are equipped with the skills to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. 



Phonics and spelling rules are taught systematically throughout Early Years and Key Stage One. At Newnham Infant and Nursery School  we use Letters and Sounds to plan and teach phonics.  To ensure all children can access and enjoy these daily lessons we offer a multi – sensory approach to the teaching of phonics in EYFS.  We supplement Letters and Sounds planning with Jolly Phonics songs and actions.  Through a four part lesson children are immersed into a variety of activities and practical games to learn new sounds, practise print letter formation and to build up a bank of tricky words.   In EYFS through continuous provision children are encouraged to actively practise applying their phonic knowledge during the school day when accessing the wide variety of learning opportunities in the inside and outside learning environment.  As children continue their phonics journey into Key Stage One, lessons are planned using Letters and Sounds and the statutory National Curriculum spelling requirements for Key Stage 1.  

The majority of pupils from Reception to Year 2 are taught at age related expectations. Some children are taught in a smaller group and receive additional support to ensure they reach their full potential. 

Across the school, children are grouped according to the stage of Letters and Sounds which they are currently working within. These groups are fluid and flexible according to children's progress and needs.  Children's progress is tracked regularly and lessons are differentiated to meet the needs of all learners.  In addition to daily phonic lessons small groups of children in EYFS and Key Stage One also access phonic interventions.  These bespoke interventions provide opportunities for children to revisit previously taught phonemes, reinforce class teaching and to practise applying phonic knowledge and skills in context. 


Guided and Shared Reading

Reading is taught through shared and guided reading. Children enjoy a wealth of age related texts that motivate and inspire them to read. Through a mixture of discrete guided reading sessions and whole class reading, children are given access to age-related texts that are carefully matched to their reading ability (book banded) as well as more challenging texts which they can access with adult guidance. Children are encouraged to be inquisitive, asking and answering questions and to engage in group discussion to explore content. A range of reading skills are developed in these lessons:

  • investigating new and ambitious vocabulary
  • making predictions
  • retrieving key facts from a text
  • making inferences
  • summarising texts


Individual Reading

All children are provided with book banded school reading books that are matched to their reading ability. Children are encouraged to read daily at home and parents / carers are encouraged to make comments in their child’s reading record to maintain a dialogue between staff and parents/carers. In Reception and Year 1, children take home colour banded books to match children’s phonic level and comprehension skills. In Year 2, children continue their reading journey by taking home a wider selection of colour banded reading books.

Children also have access to a personalised library of reading books using the online reading scheme Bug Club. 

Where children are reading below the expected level for their age, reading is also taught through targeted interventions led by Learning Support Assistants such as daily individual reading and phonic interventions.


Class Reading

Children are read aloud to in class on a daily basis.  We aim to develop children’s English skills and inspire them to develop a love of reading and a knowledge of a variety of authors. Through listening to adults read, it brings books alive and models good reading behaviour.



Class Library

Throughout the school, children are encouraged to choose books independently.  Each classroom has its own designated and inviting reading area which includes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, some of which are linked to current class topics. 


School Library

We are fortunate to have a school library which is well resourced with a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books.

Each week every class visits the school library to choose a book that they take home to enjoy with their families. 


Reading for Pleasure

Our aim is to develop a love of reading and children that read for enjoyment. Reading for pleasure is promoted in a variety of ways, in school and with families and the wider community.

Each year, we hold a themed Book Week to raise the profile of reading and celebrate our love of books. We have author visits annually to inspire the children. Parents / carers are invited in to share their favourite books with classes.

We have close ties with the local library / school librarian and each class will visit Eastcote library during the year. We take part in the Hillingdon summer reading challenge led by Hillingdon libraries.




Children leave Newnham Infant and Nursery School as confident communicators, readers and writers with an extensive vocabulary and a lifelong love of literature.


At Newnham Infant and Nursery School we use both formative and summative assessments to inform medium term and weekly planning.  Assessments are also used at half termly Pupil Progress meetings.  Target children are identified and interventions planned and implemented.  Assessment data is submitted termly and achievement and progress of groups of learners is analysed.  Lesson observations, book scrutinies, learning walks and pupil/parent/staff voice are all used to monitor the teaching and learning of English across the school.