English & Phonics

English and phonics

Our Vision

Our aim, at East Claydon C of E School, is to expose the pupils to a rich and stimulating learning environment which fully supports every child on the journey to becoming a confident reader and writer.

English Recovery Programme

At East Claydon we are aware of how difficult the current circumstances are, and how all our lives have been affected by Covid-19.  The disruption to learning has been significant and we are working hard to address this. We have in place a robust recovery programme. Within every class, we will be taking a step back and revisiting areas of learning that were missed during the period of National school closure. Teachers have adapted long term planning in order to revise prior learning and ensure gaps are addressed. Teachers have planned for exciting and engaging activities that will provide a starting point for English sessions and we hope your children have come home enthused about the daily learning activities!

Early Years

From the very beginning of their learning journey with us, we encourage all children to build a passion for writing, spending a lot of time with our youngest pupils on developing the ability to simply write letters and sounds in a variety of engaging ways. Children enjoy lots of multi-sensory letter formation fun using playdough, magnets, pipe cleaners and even sand and herbs, in addition to regular mark making using pencils, chalk and paint. While learning the practicalities of word writing through progressive phonics lessons, the children are also exposed to a range of fun and inspirational texts. Enjoying these stories helps them to understand what it is to be a reader and writer.

Alongside this, we also encourage children to talk about and plan their ideas before embarking upon the writing process. We provide the children with lots of discussion opportunities during English sessions. These include taking part in practical activities, the use of drama and the arts, and where possible, linking school trips or visitors, which provide the children with exciting and engaging personal experiences from which to draw. These opportunities continue into more specific practical tools to develop their imaginations such as hot seating characters to interview them, reinventing dialogue, acting out parts or creating freeze frames to represent key events in a story. This style of learning allows the children to truly enjoy the process of planning their own writing and visualise it before they sit down and record their ideas.

As they develop their skills, children begin to confidently prepare for independent writing. They become excited to develop their own texts and we encourage them to be bold and imaginative. While maintaining an understanding of what is expected from our children according to the National Curriculum, we expand our lessons to include a wide selection of text types including narrative, letters, instructions, non-chronological reports, information texts, recounts, poetry, plays, songs and diaries. These often stem from our termly themes and are always linked to a quality text that provides a starting point for learning and helps motivate and involve all our pupils. In both Key Stages children will have weekly grammar focus areas that support and enrich the writing process.

The final step in their English journey is often the most challenging; the ability to review, edit and improve work. Through our school ethos and practice of ‘growth mindset’, our children are continuously learning how to become better learners and we encourage this whole-heartedly throughout our English lessons. We provide the children with the techniques they need to become reflective, reviewing their own work and supporting peers in this process, encouraging them to identify what has made their work fantastic or requires improvement. We teach them that it is fine to make mistakes and go off track. The children know that the worst thing about making a mistake is being afraid to make one! Giving children the confidence to make mistakes and reflect upon them, allows them to become resilient writers who are excited to edit and improve their work every time.


Underpinning our English lessons are daily phonics sessions that help children build a repertoire of skills from which they can confidently draw when reading and writing. In order to plan the most effective phonics lessons, we are in the process of implementing 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds' as our DfE approved phonics programme.


From Reception to Year 2, the children are taught in 20-minute sessions each day, and are in small, streamed groups to meet individual learning needs. We plan multi-sensory lessons, combining visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities to advance core learning and enable every child to accelerate and reach their full potential. We also aim to consistently give children the opportunity to reinforce and apply their phonic knowledge and skills across the curriculum during English, guided reading, handwriting and Expedition lessons.

In Key Stage 2 children have a daily spelling session. We work on a two-yearly cycle and follow a specific spelling programme. Children from Year 2 through to Year 6 follow the No Nonsense Spelling scheme.

Learning environment

Around the school, we ensure there is a consistent focus on English within the environment, surrounding the children with encouraging displays and resources that will continually develop their skills and understanding. Our use of working walls in each classroom allow the children to review their weekly learning in core subjects and help build their own bank of useful tools, which will support them throughout their learning journey. Displaying children’s writing in classrooms and around the school is also a fantastic opportunity to praise, encourage and motivate them and has a substantial effect on their motivation and self-confidence, as well as allowing visitors and staff to see how well our children are developing.

Learning at home

How you can help:

There are so many ways to support your child at home to help them develop key English skills.

  • Make reading a key part of your daily routine. Sometimes, particularly after a tiring school day, your child may not want to sit and read their school reading book to you. Reading with, or even to, your child can still be beneficial, helping children to learn pronunciation and expression through hearing the story read aloud.
  • Make it fun. We do hope that parents will find time to read with children at least three times a week. However you decide to approach reading at home, it is important that it is an enjoyable activity and not a chore, so above all, enjoy what you read together!
  • Be a role model. Spend time discussing reading choices, sharing books and other texts you are reading. Helping children to understand the pleasure that can be derived from reading plays a key part in shaping their attitude as they progress on their own reading journeys.
  • Play with phonics. Use sound flashcards or use the games on www.phonicsplay.co.uk to encourage your child to practice their sounds.
  • Handwriting help. Encourage your child to develop their cursive handwriting. We teach a continuous cursive style from the end of Year 1 onwards. Teachers can provide extra sheets or activities to help with fine motor control and letter formation.
  • Support with spelling. We follow the No Nonsense spelling programme as a guide for our teaching. In Key Stage 2 children come home with weekly spellings, we ask that you please spend some time encouraging your child to learn these words. In school we look at not simply whether children can learn the words for a test, but whether they can apply the words correctly within their independent writing. If you would like some ideas for strategies to help with learning spellings please ask Mrs K Duxbury.

Keeping children engaged

As a school we aim to inspire our children so that they really enjoy reading and writing. Teachers work hard to ensure that myriad opportunities are provided for children to see their writing as purposeful and exciting. We take part in many external initiatives and we love it when parents get involved and encourage children to participate.  Please watch out for information about the next class/whole school writing project via class dojo.  We look forward to working together with parents to inspire our next generation of children who love to read, are inspired to write and excited about learning.