GSO Test

'Success for all, in all we do'


At the core of our English curriculum, is the daily opportunity for pupils to engage with high quality children’s literature to serve as both an inspiration for writing and encouragement to develop a love of reading. We carefully select texts to link with our termly themes and to support us in delivering a broad, balanced and engaging English curriculum, based upon the National Curriculum objectives.

Please see below for our termly themes and key texts.


Using a focus text as a stimulus, a learning journey is mapped out which immerses children in the author’s world. Our English focus texts provide pupils with regular writing opportunities, inspiring them through the rich language and illustrations used.

Our English lessons incorporate a range of speaking and listening activities through drama and oracy. This allows children to internalise the vocabulary and grammatical structures they need for writing in a range of genres. Our genre progression grids highlight the writing skills needed for each writing style and demonstrate how this changes for each year group and key stage.

In our writing lessons, grammar, vocabulary and punctuation are taught in context. Children are shown what success looks like through the careful modelling of writing and constructed success criteria. Pupils are given ‘I Can' statements, which are written in child-friendly language, to ensure pupils understand the expectations for their year group.

Children are encouraged to be reflective, aspirant writers and are taught how to edit their writing. To support children in improving their writing, 'Always Looking For' grids are used by teachers. These remind children of the writing expectations for their year group and support pupils in knowing what successful writing looks like.

We aim to encourage writing for pleasure at Fircroft. We expect children to see themselves as writers and want to inspire children to love writing and write independently. To do this, we provide each child with their own personal writing project book. For more information on how these are used at school and at home, please read the 'Encouraging Writing' document. 


We place great importance upon the development of clear, neat and joined handwriting which starts in the Early Years with the introduction of careful letter formation, moves on through Key Stage 1 to develop a cursive style and then into Key Stage 2 where pupils continue to have regular handwriting sessions in order to develop a neat, fluent and joined style.

Click here to see our handwriting style.

Spelling & Phonics

Spelling and phonics are a key part of our English provision and we use the SoundsWrite linguistic phonic programme, in Reception and Key Stage 1, as well as the No Nonsense spelling programme from Year 2-6. Early on, children are also introduced to the idea of everyday or common exception words and regularly taught a range of strategies to learn and write them. From Year 2 onwards we also give pupils regular opportunities to reflect upon their own spelling strengths and weaknesses and to compile short, personal lists of words which they need to learn. We then encourage pupils to pay particular attention to these words, when independently editing their writing.


It is our aim that every pupil leaves Fircroft as a fluent, confident and enthusiastic reader. This journey begins in Nursery with the regular sharing of stories and through encouraging children to recognise labels and signs in their environment. Then, when children start in Reception, they experience daily phonics lessons (using the SoundsWrite programme) as well as regular one-to-one reading and whole class storytimes. We build upon this at the start of Key Stage 1 by introducing children to ‘Guided Comprehension’, which develops pupils’ ability to summarise texts, clarify vocabulary and answer a range of comprehension questions.

Alongside the daily teaching of reading, we also encourage a love of reading through regular class visits and clubs in our beautiful new library; Reading Buddies, where different year groups pair up to share books and our Reading Ambassadors whose job is to champion reading in their classes. 


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