The National Curriculum

At Sauncey Wood, we follow the National Curriculum, which states:


Purpose of study

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, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.




The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. 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



What Do We Teach At Sauncey Wood?

At Sauncey Wood, we follow the Herts For Learning planning modules.  These form an overview from which we plan weekly lessons tailored to meet the needs of individual classes.


The English programme of study is made up of four key areas:


  • Spoken language

  • Reading

  • Writing

  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation (SPAG)





Useful Documents:


Please click here to see the Herts modules for each year group.


Please click here to see the Herts guidance for the teaching of SPAG for each year group.


Please click here to see Appendix 1: Spelling, from the National Curriculum -  to view the full list of Spelling expectations including the 'Common Exception Words' for each year group.






How we teach reading


Reading has a high profile at Sauncey Wood, as it is the key to effective learning. We aim to foster pleasure in reading, which will remain with the children for life. Children are encouraged to love books and read independently for progress and pleasure.

Guided Reading takes place in classes through a carousel of Reading activities to further develop word recognition and comprehension skills. Key questions are focused on specific texts that challenge children's ideas and develop their ability to infer, deduce and speculate on the reasons for authors' choices.

In Reception classes, Year 1 and Year 2, reading is taught through our phonics scheme. You can read more about our Phonics scheme below.

As well as the teaching of phonics, there is also a focus on comprehension and reading for enjoyment. Every class has a regular guided reading session or 'Big Read'. Each group works with the teacher, taking part in a guided reading session, reading a book that is planned to suit their ability. During this time, the other groups focus on other reading activities where they practise a variety of reading skills. These may be:

Comprehension: reading a section of a text independently and answering questions on it.

Silent Reading, the children read books/comics/newspapers or stories/poems they have chosen, in silence.

Follow-up Tasks, linked to a guided reading session.

Vocabulary tasks, linked to the text that is being read with the teacher

RIC - where the whole class responds to a text in a teacher directed way.

In class, teachers also spend time sharing their favourite books with their class and read books that the children recommend to their teachers!

Furthermore, part of learning to read well is about finding your way around a good library. We are building towards a well stocked, fully working library that is run by children as well as staff. We want interesting information texts, linked to topics we teach across the curriculum. We want a whole variety of interesting, exciting stories which will inspire our children to read for pleasure and develop a love of reading.

We have many exciting initiatives that are all designed to get the children reading.  These have included celebrating World Book Day, inviting in famous authors to talk to the children, Bed Time Story, the 'Shelfie' and most recently Reading BINGO!


How we teach phonics:


Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and write. It is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds and understand the link between the sound (phoneme) and the way it is written (grapheme).

At Sauncey Wood Primary school we follow the Letters and Sounds programme. This is a phonics programme in which individual letters or letter sounds are ‘blended’ to form groups of letters or sounds, and those groups are then blended to form complete words.

Children throughout Reception and Key Stage 1 take part in a daily phonics session. These focus on developing reading, writing and speaking and listening skills. The ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning.

Children are also taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ – words with spellings that are unusual. These include the words ‘to’, ‘was’, ‘said’ and ‘the’. ‘Tricky words’ are ones that we can’t sound – so these words just need to be remembered.


Here are some of the terms you may come across in our phonics work:

vowels – the open sounds / letters of the alphabet: a,e,i,o and u

consonants – sounds/ letters of the alphabet that are not vowels.

blend – to merge individual sounds together to pronounce a word, e.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap

cluster – two (or three) letters making two (or three) sounds, e.g. the first three letters of 'straight' are a consonant cluster

digraph – two letters making one sound, e.g. sh, ch, th, ph.

vowel digraphs – two letters which, together, make one vowel sound, e.g. ai, oo, ow

split digraph – two letters, split, making one sound, e.g. a-e as in make or i-e in site

grapheme – letter or a group of letters representing one sound, e.g. sh, ch, igh, ough (as in 'though')

mnemonic — a device for memorising and recalling something, such as a snake shaped like the letter 'S' or Big Elephants Can’t Always Use Small Exits – for because

phoneme — the smallest single identifiable sound, e.g. the letters 'sh' represent just one sound, but 'sp' represents two (/s/ and /p/)

segment  — to split up a word into its individual phonemes in order to spell it, e.g. the word 'cat' has three phonemes: /c/, /a/, /t/

Helping with phonics at home. Click here to access fun and interactive games to support your child’s development in phonics.

Celebrating Achievement 2015/16

Sauncey Wood Primary School

Pickford Hill

Harpenden, Hertfordshire


01582 621514