Barley Close Community Primary School
Resilience, Kindness and Curiosity

Home Page Home Page





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.




Spoken English has 44 sounds (phonemes) and these phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). A sound can be represented by one letter or a group of letters, e,g. 'sh'. 

At Barley Close children are taught these sounds in line with the RWI phonics programme. Through our phonics teaching and wider continuous provision children will learn to:

  • Recognise the 44 sounds and their corresponding letter(s).
  • Learn to read words using sound blending.
  • Learn to write the letter(s) which represent the 44 sounds.
  • Learn to write words by saying the sounds.

The sounds are arranged into 3 sets, known as ‘Speed Sounds’. Some sounds are made using single letters, others comprise 2 or more letters.  When introducing children to a sound we teach that where the sound has multiple letters it still makes just one sound. 2 letters that make one sound are diagraphs and 3 letters but makes one sound are called trigraphs.

Each term children learn set letters and sounds as well as red words. Some of these red words are decodable once letter sounds have been taught, e.g. 'it', but some are tricky and need to be learned by heart, e.g. 'was.' Children are taught to blend (merge sounds together to make a word) and segment (split words up into their sounds). They also learn to read alien words (nonsense words) in order to enhance the skill of blending.

Children will become familiar with Fred Talk -  Fred frog is a fun character who we use to help the children learn to read unfamiliar words by pronouncing each sound in the word one at a time, the children know this as Fred Talk




The ability to read is crucial for a child’s success in all areas of development, and a life-long love of reading has a significant impact on their academic, social and mental well-being. At Barley Close we support this journey from the start through a language rich environment, structured lessons and independent provision.

Early reading is taught using the RWI synthetic phonics program as soon as children start full time school. This structured programme is followed throughout Reception, Year 1 and into Year 2. It teaches the different phonemes (sounds) and how to blend them to read individual words. Children are taught to blend as their first approach to reading, but are also taught the high frequency “red words” to enable them to access the reading materials. Children are given sound cards, blending books, ditties and then reading books in line with the RWI scheme and all books are carefully matched to each child’s phonetic ability. Children’s progress is continually reviewed to ensure they are receiving appropriate teaching and reading material.

Our approach to early reading ensures that a love of reading is promoted by providing an environment where children have access to a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction books, where children are read aloud to frequently, where children have the opportunity to act out well known stories and create their own through Helicopter stories and where songs, rhymes and poems are used to develop their understanding of the spoken and written word.

Language comprehension is crucial to children being able to decode, read fluently and comprehend and this is evident through all our provision. Vocabulary is a core part of our teaching across all areas of learning in reception and this is continued as children make their journey through school by planned weekly vocabulary lessons.




Reading is an essential life skill and it is our intention that every child at Barley Close will learn to read and understand text making progress from their starting point.



In order to achieve this we teach reading in the following ways:

  • Use of a systematic, synthetic phonics programme that is taught from the beginning of reception. We use the RWI phonics scheme.
  • All children in Year 2 (from term 2) to Year 6 take part in a weekly guided reading session where children read as part of a group showing their understanding of the text and being exposed to a wide range of language and vocabulary.
  • A whole class weekly reading lesson is taught in years 1-6. Children are exposed to high quality texts which are aspirational in terms of their language and vocabulary. Children are supported in their independent understanding of these texts through a range of differentiated questioning.
  • Reading Assistants support children in their reading in Reception and Year 1. They read with children individually to ensure their phonics knowledge is embedded and all children are able to access the year 1 phonics screening check. 
  • Each class has a daily Book Talk time where class teachers read aloud to children. Our aim is to enthuse children about books, develop their love of reading and show them that reading can open doors to new worlds and experiences.
  • In order to achieve all of the above we use high quality picture books, novels, factual texts and poetry that are age appropriate as well as challenging and aspirational for all our children.
  • Children are asked to read at least 5 times a week at home. Reading records are monitored weekly and rewards and reminders given. Whole school and individual rewards are used to recognise reading achievement, these include a weekly Reading Star and a termly Reading Ambassador for each class.


All children at Barley Close will learn to read and be exposed to an environment that demonstrates a love of reading.

In learning to read all our children will develop the skills that enable them to understand the written word and the meaning it carries both in terms of knowledge and understanding as well as imagination and creativity.




Our intent for writing sits alongside reading in that we want all children at Barley Close to be able to write as an effective means of communication and as a life-long skill. Though our book based English curriculum we want our children to be inspired to write by the books they read and to show them how writing can be used as a tool to communicate, share ideas and open doors.


In order to achieve this we teach writing in the following way:

  • EYFS have writing opportunities that are explicit though out their continuous provision.
  • A two week planning cycle is used from Year 1 – Year 6 where children are taught grammar skills and how to apply then in context.
  • Handwritten models are used to show children not only how to write using a cursive script but also as a tool for teachers to model the thought process that goes behind writing.
  • WAGOLL’s are used to show aspirational writing, we want all our children to be exposed to the very best writing and believe that every child is a writer.
  • Vocabulary and word choice is taught explicitly within the two week unit and applied to the end of unit outcome.
  • We teach an explicit vocabulary session weekly which is outside of the English lesson, this looks a vocabulary across the curriculum and uses a set structure where children revisit a range of vocabulary.
  • Every unit of work has an end of unit outcome. Children know what they are working towards and the grammar and vocabulary skills that need to be showcased.
  • English working walls map the journey of the writing unit and are a tool to be used by the children to support the writing process.
  • All children are given weekly spellings to learn at home. These are also taught in class giving every child the opportunity to achieve in spelling.


All children at Barley Close will learn to write and be exposed to an environment that demonstrates the written word.

In learning to write all our children will develop the skills that enable them to understand that the written word carries meaning and is used as an effective means of communication as well as a tool to express ideas, imagination, views and opinions.


Speaking and Listening

Across the school we develop the children’s speaking and listening abilities as we believe this significantly compliments their reading and writing skills. We teach the children: turn taking, respecting the views of the others, poetry recitation, and formal presentations, as well as acting. There are opportunities for children to take part in productions including assemblies, events for special occasions such as Christmas, class assemblies and the Year 6 production.


English Texts

Years 2 - 6 follow a key text each term as the basis of their English work. An overview of the texts used can be found below.




Language and vocabulary are at the heart of all learning. At Barley Close Primary we see talk and communication as a key skill that is central to successful learning. A language rich environment in EYFS allows children the time and space to develop their communication skills with aspects of this mirrored throughout the school as the children continue on their primary journey. A word of the week in KS 1 and word of the day in KS 2 allows the focus to be kept on developing a wide and broad language base. Weekly vocabulary lessons take place in years 1 - 6 outside of the English lesson. These sessions focus on new key vocabulary taught during the week in a range of subject areas with an opportunity to also revisit previously taught vocabulary in order to embed a broad language base.




  • Barley Close Community Primary School
  • Barley Close, Mangotsfield, Bristol
  • United Kingdom, BS16 9DL
  • Tel: 01454 867090
  • Email: