Garden Fields JMI School | Townsend Drive, St Albans, AL3 5RL | 01727 890440

Garden Fields JMI School | Townsend Drive, St Albans, AL3 5RL
01727 890440

GFS Logo

Garden Fields JMI School

Growing Hearts and Minds

Building children’s confidence, igniting a love of learning and creating wonderful memories

Part of the Alban Academies Trust
Sharing Educational Excellence

GFS Logo

Garden Fields JMI School

Growing Hearts and Minds

Building children’s confidence, igniting a love of learning and creating wonderful memories

Part of the Alban Academies Trust
Sharing Educational Excellence


English Curriculum

“One child, one teacher, one pen, and one book can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai

English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised. (National Curriculum 2014)

You can find out more in our 3 Is; Intent, Implementation and Impact.

Our Outline Aims

Our aim for our pupils, as they journey through our English curriculum is to enable them to develop to become confident and competent communicators who speak, read and write fluently and are able to effectively communicate their ideas to others in a variety of setting and to different stakeholders. These English skills are the thread that flows and links through the entire school curriculum.

Our Literacy Teaching and Learning Philosophy

We are guided by the National Curriculum for English (2014) and the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum:


The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate

The Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage requires that English and Literacy involves:

  • providing children with opportunities to for adults to talk about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together.
  • skilled word reading through explicitly taught speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Writing involves transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech, before writing).

The early learning goals for English are:


  • Demonstrate understanding of what has been read to them by retelling stories and narratives using their own words and recently introduced vocabulary
  • Anticipate – where appropriate – key events in stories
  • Use and understand recently introduced vocabulary during discussions about stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems and during role-play.

Word Reading:

  • Say a sound for each letter in the alphabet and at least 10 digraphs
  • Read words consistent with their phonic knowledge by sound-blending
  • Read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words


  • Write recognisable letters, most of which are correctly formed
  • Spell words by identifying sounds in them and representing the sounds with a letter or letters
  • Write simple phrases and sentences that can be read by others


The Garden Fields English curriculum is closely linked to the wider curriculum topic and is taught through the selection of rich, high-quality texts, chosen to enhance topics studied. The text is pitched at a challenging yet appropriate level for a class and will enrich and expand topic learning, providing a vehicle for deeper understanding. A range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry will be explored over each term. Lessons are planned in line with the National Curriculum outcomes and follow the year groups expectations which are set out in National Curriculum overview documents.

In English lessons, and across the wider curriculum, children are given daily opportunities to write for specific purposes and develop their skills within the areas of composition, vocabulary and grammar and punctuation. In each year group, the children will confidently be able to use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling to meet age related expectations, enabling them to allow their imagination to flourish. They will leave Garden Fields with the confidence to use these skills for a range of different writing purposes.

The curriculum is planned so that content is built on and revisited throughout the spiral of skills and knowledge. Cross-curricular writing is a key part of our curriculum; with pupils across the school applying and developing their reading, writing, and oracy skills they have been explicitly taught within other areas of our creative curriculum.


Children have daily English lessons a week, in addition to specific handwriting and spelling/phonics lessons and guided reading lessons.

In English lessons, an English unit is planned following the Herts for Learning Sequence of writing, which follows the sequence of familiarisation with a text type: immersing the reader in the text and investigating it from the reader’s perspective; capturing ideas and features of the text type/genre that will be helpful for writing, and developing key skills of grammar, punctuation and composition skills needed for the text type which will then build to their own extended piece of writing which will enable pupils to transfer and apply these skills. Editing is an important part of the writing process and pupils are taught to edit their own work with guidance and support from teaching staff.  Each year group has an agreed set of non-negotiables which are used as a visible check list for each piece of writing alongside the genre specific success criteria. Published pieces of work are used to create class books and some may be used for the pupils’ Learning Journal.



It is clear from looking at the children’s work that as they progress into upper KS2, they can write in a range of different genres and are aware of the needs of their audience. This is evident from monitoring of our books. Children transfer their writing skills into all areas of the curriculum and writing opportunities are provided across all the different topics.

Phonics and spelling

At GFS, phonics is taught across EYFS and KS1 as well as in intervention sessions across KS2. In KS1 we follow the Read, Write, Inc programme of study developed by Ruth Miskin. Pupils have daily phonics sessions, each session is broken up into different parts including: revision of previous sounds taught, teaching of a new sound, reading words with the new sound and writing them.

In EYFS, the children begin their day with a daily phonics lesson in small groups to focus on the explicit teaching of a sound with opportunities to read, write and review known sounds in line with the practice of Read, Write, Inc.  In Year 1, the children have a daily phonics lesson following the same process before applying their phonic knowledge to their daily Literacy session. Each week the Year 1 children have a dedicated spelling lesson with opportunities across the week to practice the rule or pattern within their daily learning. These spelling lessons focus on high frequency words, common exception words and the spelling rules as outlined for Year 1 within the National Curriculum. In Year 2 the children continue to follow the Read, Write, Inc Programme to consolidate their phonic development with daily opportunities to revise known sounds and interventions for children who need additional phonics support. The Year 2 children have weekly spelling lessons also in line with the rules and patterns outlined within the National Curriculum.

In KS2 we follow Herts for learning ‘ESSENTIAL spelling’ scheme which focuses the teaching of spelling patterns and rules. It links to prior knowledge and tracks back to related objectives to enable teachers to give targeted support to children who are not yet able to spell words from their year group programme of study. It follows the Revisit, Explain, Use; Teach, Model, Define; Practise, Explore, Investigate; Apply, Assess, Reflect model of lesson development. Children’s knowledge of spelling rules is built over time, following this clearly sequenced programme.

Children who enter KS2 having not passed the Phonics Screening test in KS1 or have gaps in their phonic knowledge will receive targeted phonics interventions with a teaching assistant to ensure gaps and phonic knowledge are closed.


The result of phonics teaching at our school will be that children will have a secure knowledge of phonics, Children will be able to apply their phonic knowledge to confidently spell many words either correctly or initially phonetically using the sounds they have learnt.  As they move through the school they develop confidence in spelling patterns and rules and will know spelling alternatives for different sounds and be able to apply these consistently in their reading and writing enabling then to decode and encode words with fluency and confidently.


Reading is the golden thread that runs throughout the curriculum. High quality texts are used to teach writing, teachers read novels to children, children regularly access the school library. Reading is a skill that underpins so much of what children do in school. At Garden fields we aim to foster a lifelong love of and engagement with reading itself.

The children are taught daily reading through a mixture of whole class, guided reading, independent reading. This reading experience for children is across a breadth of fiction reading genres, non -fiction, poetry and reading skills are applied across all curriculum areas.

Early reading skills are developed through the Read, Write Inc phonics sessions where the children are taught using a systematic, synthetic phonics program which helps all children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in vocabulary and comprehension. This is supplemented by daily guided reading sessions where children have targeted intervention to develop strategies needed to develop accuracy in decoding words, word recognition and ensure children are able to read books of an age-appropriate level with understanding.

As children become able to access age-appropriate books more independently, the guided reading sessions will focus more on being able to interrogate extracts, fiction and non-fiction, and developing and using skills such as inference, summarising, retrieval and analysing the text.

The explicit reading sessions are designed to allow students to be taught in a way that is intended to be focused on children’s specific needs and accelerating their progress. The sessions follow the pre-reading, reading with an adult and after reading, independent application of individual reading targets and peer or group discussion.

Reading interventions in Ks2: Those children who require more bespoke, additional support with their reading will continue to receive it through a range of targeted interventions including the ‘Herts for Learning Reading Fluency project’ which runs across all year groups across KS2.

At GFS we actively promote a love of reading in a variety of ways. Children will regularly take part in ‘reading’ activities such as: drop and read, book clubs, listening to and recording podcasts, being read to daily by an adult, paired reading, analysing books, listening to authors read in assemblies, staff sharing recommendations and their thoughts about reading; our school and class libraries where always having access to high quality texts.

We ask all children to take part in a daily reading activity as a normal part of home life. Children developing their early reading skills will use texts which are fully decodable. Once children have developed their early reading skills, they will begin to read a variety of books that are age-appropriate, of high interest to the children and across a broad range of reading genres. During the reading, the children should discuss the text, and answer questions to show their understanding of the text. To support with this please look at Our ‘Reading Road Map’ which highlights the different levels that children will pass through as they continue on their reading journey, along with additional information to support parents when reading with their children at home.


The impact of these strategies will ensure children will develop a life-long enjoyment of reading and books and ensure they leave Garden Fields with the ability to decipher significant meaning from a text through their use of deduction and inference skills. All pupils will be able to read with accuracy, speed, confidence, fluency and understanding, ready to access the secondary school curriculum.  All pupils will make at least good progress from their starting points.

As a minimum, all children are expected to read daily.  Each fortnight children are given a project to complete on a specific theme. There is guidance given on how you can support your child with completing this. Additional targeted homework is set for individuals or groups according to identified needs.


Speaking and listening skills are vital in all learning and social situations. At Garden Fields, we encourage our pupils to speak clearly and articulate their views and opinions by encountering a range of situations, activities and audiences, which are designed to develop confidence and competence.

Our children have many opportunities to hone these skills through active participation in a range of different activities, such as:

  • Purposeful talk for learning
  • Bi-annual class talks, independently prepared and presented to peers
  • Talk homework
  • Class debates
  • Circle Time in PSHE
  • Drama activities
  • School council meetings
  • End of term Topic Celebrations
  • School productions

Oracy in EYFS – ELG: Speaking Children at the expected level of development will: – Participate in small group, class and one-to-one discussions, offering their own ideas, using recently introduced vocabulary; – Offer explanations for why things might happen, making use of recently introduced vocabulary from stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems when appropriate; – Express their ideas and feelings about their experiences using full sentences, including use of past, present and future tenses and making use of conjunctions, with modelling and support from their teacher.

Subject Coordinators

Miss Palmer (KS2) and Mrs Soans/Miss Campbell (KS1) are the English Subject Coordinators

The Learning Journey below illustrates the English curriculum for WRITING for children from EYFS to Year 6. Each term there is a focus on a main topic supported by knowledge organiser topics.


The Learning Journey below illustrates the English curriculum for READING for children from EYFS to Year 6. Each term there is a focus on a main topic supported by knowledge organiser topics.