English, Literacy & Communication

Language and communication skills are essential for all our pupils and underpin the curriculum aims across the Federation. We recognise that the skills developed in English promote learning across the curriculum. We aim for our pupils to be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and to communicate effectively both verbally and non-verbally with others in a range of social situations, appropriate to their levels and needs.

We teach pupils the skills they need to communicate in ways relevant to their individual needs, developing their skills in communication, reading and writing. Phonics also forms an important part of the English curriculum.

English Curriculum Aims

Reading and writing are essential skills to help build each student’s cultural capital. We want pupils to be able to read and communicate so they can learn well in different subjects and become successful adults.  Using the format most appropriate for them, students learn to communicate needs and wants, ideas and opinions in a way that can be understood by others. Reading is both a means-to-an-end, a way of accessing information and services, of being aware of the written world around you, as well as being an activity with real intrinsic value. Students learn that the world of books is an enjoyable one because they will be read to every day by an adult, who will convey their love of reading to their audience.

Teaching time

English is taught in discrete sessions every day.  Every class is read to by an adult for up to 15 minutes every day.  English is also highlighted through other curriculum areas, e.g. reading recipes in cookery classes; students writing their name and the date at the top of a science worksheet; or copying and making marks in shaving foam.

English Coverage: Skills Strands




Whole-word reading (when appropriate) Handwriting
Comprehension Composition



Using a systematic phonic approach, phonics is delivered in discrete sessions where appropriate.  Students’ phonics levels are monitored every term to ensure progress is on track and that sessions are relevant and targeted.

Where appropriate, pupils have a reading book and a reading diary recording when they are heard reading. In addition to the reading carried out during phonics sessions, English sessions and during cross-curricular learning experiences, pupils are heard reading 2 – 3 times a week by a member of staff. Social sight words are taught to support the development of functional literacy.

‘The Hub’ is a provision designed to develop communication skills, self-awareness and awareness of others for identified individuals. In highly practical and interactive sessions, students consider a wide range of non-verbal  and early communication skills linked in with phase 1 of the systematic phonics approach. All learning opportunities provided in the Hub are designed to improve the quality of their interactions with peers and adults.

Pupils have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction literature to enrich and broaden their experiences. We enhance the curriculum through the use of visiting story tellers, poets and theatre groups and provide opportunities for pupils to visit theatres.

English across the Key Stages

Early Years As soon as pupils join the school, they start to learn the communication skills they need.  English teaching in the Early Years is play-based, with opportunities provided for children to learn the prerequisites to reading and writing skills through continuous provision e.g. early mark-making; enjoying listening to stories being read aloud. Children enjoy lots of interesting and well-planned activities. These are carefully selected to develop their attention and listening skills. Early Years staff get to know pupils quickly so that learning can start straight away. Pupils develop a love of reading by listening to lots of different types of stories and rhymes.

Key Stage 1  – English teaching in KS1 is play-based, with opportunities provided for children to learn the prerequisites to reading and writing skills through continuous provision e.g. early mark-making; enjoying listening to stories being read aloud in addition to short, sharp discrete teaching sessions.

Key Stage 2 – English in KS2 is taught in a more discrete way with sessions taking place daily. 1:1 reading, shared reading, phonics, writing and English sessions are often topic based and taught through a multi-sensory approach.

Key Stage 3 – English teaching in KS3 takes the form of discrete sessions held every day. Students work in small groups, independently and 1:1 at different times, and the work is often linked to an overarching topic or theme. Students in KS3 have access to carefully differentiated work which allows them to build on previous learning and learn new skills. These skills are threaded through the theme-based curriculum, allowing them to make connections within their learning and apply their understanding.

Key Stage 4 – English teaching in KS4 allows our students to see the value of the skills they have while also developing new ones. Their individual pathways are carefully considered and sessions are planned to meet the needs of individuals, whether that means a focus on application of skills, communication and interaction, or formal accreditation. They work in larger groups with students of a similar ability for at least two sessions a week in the classroom and then focus on functionality and application of skills in all other sessions.

Key Stage 5 – Students in FE get the right support to help them get ready for when they leave the school. Students learn to travel by themselves so that they can confidently get to work or college. Knowledgeable staff support students to decide what they want to do when they leave the school. Students study the right courses and attend appropriate work placements. These help to make sure that they develop the skills they need to be successful when they leave.

Qualifications – Where formal accreditation is appropriate to an individual’s pathway and outcomes, we offer Edexcel Entry Level Functional Skills to KS4 and KS5. Students are informally tested twice a year to ensure they are on track and then formal tests are administered in May each year. The assessments contain strands in speaking and listening, reading and writing, and students can sit tests at Entry Level 1, 2 and 3.

Family Involvement – Some families may like to work with their child/young person at home.  Families have information about learning in English and Literacy through Home School Agreement targets. If families would like further information to help them support  learning at home please ask the class teacher.

If families would like further information to help them support Reading at home please  click here.

Everyone will be the best they can be; Everyone has a voice; No-one is excluded.