English at West Jesmond

The English Curriculum at West Jesmond

 Curiosity, Confidence, Creativity and Community


English Curriculum Intent

West Jesmond Primary is an ambitious school and our English Curriculum reflects this.

There are three key aims of our English Curriculum.

Firstly, we are determined that every child will leave West Jesmond as a reader. Each West Jesmond pupil, regardless of background, will be supported and challenged in order to acquire both the decoding and the comprehension skills necessary to succeed in secondary school and beyond. We believe that being a fluent and confident reader is at the core of our curriculum and is the key that unlocks future learning. 

Secondly, our children will love literature! Pupils will be excited by, and immersed in, a wide variety of stories and different texts over the course of their 7 years at West Jesmond. They will have the opportunity to discuss and explore these texts, to form opinions about them and, most importantly, to lose themselves in the magic of stories. Therefore, alongside teaching every child the mechanics of how to read, we also aim to instill a profound enjoyment of reading in each child and to develop them into lifelong readers.

Finally, the West Jesmond children will leave us as confident communicators. Pupils will be able to communicate confidently and eloquently, using both written and spoken language, for a wide variety of audiences and purposes.


In English lessons, all skills are taught using a high quality English Text as a stimulus. This will often, but not always, be linked to the current humanities topic. This allows all children to become familiar with the context - regardless of their prior knowledge - enabling them to make connections and learning to become more profound. When a link between humanities and English is not possible, an engaging and exciting English text will be chosen to enhance the pupils’ cultural capital. The text will be used to inform lesson planning and task design, including those that focus on grammar and punctuation. Throughout the West Jesmond curriculum, vocabulary awareness is an acute focus. Children are encouraged to question the meaning of unfamiliar language. Opportunities will be made to explore new language, including the etymology and morphology of specific words.

The exception to this is the Phonics teaching for our EYFS and Year 1 children, which follows the Floppy’s Phonics Systematic Synthetic Phonics Scheme. This scheme expertly enables our youngest learners to decipher the alphabetical code.

In addition, every school day will include some time dedicated to reading for pleasure as it is vital that children are offered regular opportunities to select texts that they would like to read.

When needed, high quality intervention is implemented to support children in both catching and keeping up.

What you will see in a West Jesmond English Lesson

  •          Careful adaptation: teaching and learning will be adapted based on our knowledge of our children’s starting points and ongoing assessment. Scaffolding and support where needed to ensure every children is able to make progress towards the key objectives.
  •          Class text: each lesson is based around the class text. This will include the teaching of reading, writing and GPS.
  •          Reading in every lesson: there will be an opportunity to read in every English lesson – this could include whole class reading, paired reading or individual reading.
  •          Vocabulary awareness: an emphasis is placed on identifying, collecting and applying new language within lessons. This may include a focus on etymology (the history of the word) and morphology (exploring the meaning of prefixes, root words and suffixes).
  •          Class and group discussion will feature in each lesson, creating opportunities for speaking and listening. Pupils are encouraged to speak formally, in full sentences and to justify their ideas and responses. Teaching staff will use these opportunities to make formative assessments of the children’s comprehension. Children will be encouraged to initiate collaboration with their peers when appropriate.
  •          Purpose: written work will have a meaningful purpose to the children producing it. For example, opportunities to share, perform and record will be planned into sequences of lessons.
  •          Modelling: Teachers will use precise modelling, both of reading and writing skills, in order to ensure that children’s progress. This modelling may be as a full class, small group or one-to-one within a lesson, and can be done through writing or orally.
  •          Skills-based reading: when teaching reading, lessons will be based on the class text and focus on a specific reading skill detailed in year group milestones, such as prediction, inference or summarising.
  •          Basic skills: standards of handwriting, presentation and spelling will be high and continually monitored by all teaching staff.  Letter formation to be taught discretely during Phonics in Reception. Handwriting to be taught discretely using Pen Pals in Reception to Year 4, then to be intervention or personal targets across Upper Key Stage 2. Spelling to link to phonics in EYFS, Year1. Then Years 2 to 5, Spelling Frame is used for weekly spellings. In Year 6, pupils complete weekly spelling tests.



Progress in our curriculum is measured by children knowing more and remembering more.

The impact of our teaching in English is measured through both formative and summative assessment, based on progress towards the objectives laid out in the National Curriculum.

The feedback process supports teachers in accurately assessing the progress made within and across lessons. Verbal feedback is the most immediate feedback within the lesson and allows pupils and staff to recognise misconceptions and continue to progress within a lesson. Both self and peer assessment is a key skill in allowing children to become reflective and critical learners. In order to facilitate this, a green magnifying glass are used – by both teaching staff and pupils - to identify examples of effective vocabulary and sentence use. The children then need to explain why these areas have been highlighted. Similarly, a pink magnifying glass can be used to identify areas that could be improved. Children will have the opportunity to up-level these highlighted areas.

Each year group has a specific set of milestones for reading and writing which detail what a skill looks like at ‘working towards’, ‘expected standard’ and ‘greater depth’. These act as key performance indicators for the English Curriculum. Teachers use these, as well as the other objectives in the National Curriculum, to plan and assess the learning within their lessons. This is formally collated using ‘Sonar’ software, where gaps can be identified and analysed. Summative ‘NFER’ assessments are used termly to support teachers’ formative judgements.

Termly moderation both within and between year groups allows teacher to engage in professional dialogue with their colleagues in order to cross-moderate both reading and writing skills.

The Head of English, alongside the English and Inclusion Team, monitors progress for all children through our West Jesmond Deep Dives. If we are meeting our aims, the children will be able to talk positively and enthusiastically about the English curriculum and will be able to reflect accurately on their own progress in English. 

English at West Jesmond  - a subject guide