St Nicholas Church of England

Infants' School

Becoming The Best We Can Be


At St Nicholas CE Infants' School we aim to develop the abilities of all children to communicate effectively in speaking and in writing; to listen with understanding and to become enthusiastic and insightful readers so that they can take pleasure in their use of English.


We follow the National Curriculum in Key Stage 1 and Development Matters in the EYFS. Communication, Language and Literacy skills are taught on a daily basis in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1. These skills are then applied in cross curricular learning opportunities. English specific teaching and learning takes place within a whole class setting (shared/modelled reading and writing) and within guided reading and writing groups. Within guided groups, good practice is shared and modelled and the children also work independently or with a partner on set tasks. Teachers use a variety of interactive teaching methods to deliver the curriculum and achieve set learning objectives. These learning objectives are then assessed with this assessment feeding into planning for the next English session.


Approach of teaching

The Nursery and Reception classes have an exciting and relevant role-play area and a well-resourced writing area. These allow adults to model extended vocabulary and encourages writing through purposeful, meaningful contexts. In the Foundation Stage, emphasis is on teaching Literacy through role play, stories, storytelling, big books, guided reading and home reading.


In Key Stage 1 units of work are planned using the National Curriculum statutory guidance, which are linked in context to the current topic. These units cover the phases of the ‘Writing Sequence’. All the units are based on carefully chosen high quality books with supporting texts for each topic. Each English Plan covers outcomes for Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing. Each plan has a writing outcome with a particular purpose and audience in mind. Over the year each year group will cover a balance of narrative, non-fiction and poetry text types. A clear set of end of year expectations are followed by each year group and incorporated into planning and assessment.


Phonics is taught in every class across the whole school, including the Nursery. We follow the Letters and Sounds programme, supplemented with Jolly Phonics actions and resources from other sources as appropriate. The children are streamed in Year 1 and 2 and within each group lessons are differentiated to ensure all children are accessing high quality teaching at the level appropriate for their learning at that time. Groups are fluid to ensure children can move between them depending on the rate of their progress, fully maximising learning.


These websites provide useful information the teaching of phonics and activities to support at home:




We also have access to the apps 'Teach your monster to read' and 'Hairy Phonics' which can be downloaded to use on app enabled devices.


At St Nicholas we believe that your child’s reading experience is much more than working out what the words say. We want children to take pleasure in reading and to develop their understanding alongside their ability to decode. By reading at home parents can make a big difference to their child’s reading success. A short daily reading session at home can make all the difference to children’s progress and will help them on their journey to become an enthusiastic reader. Our home reading books come from a variety of schemes including Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, Phonics Bug and Collins Big Cat Books as well as making use of 'free reader' texts.


At school we primarily use phonics to teach children to work our new words – this is called decoding. We undertake phonics teaching where we link letters to sounds, shared reading where we model good reading skills and involve the children in thinking about what makes a good reader and we also use guided reading to target children’s next steps in their journey to become a successful reader. In addition we listen to children read, this may be in a small group or 1 to 1 and we also share stories to develop reading for pleasure, language development and to help children experience different types of texts.


Please see out Reading News - Helping at Home document for ideas to support your child with their reading.


To develop children's handwriting we use the Penpals handwriting scheme. We have high expectations for presentation and handwriting and believe that these need to be explicitly taught, modelled and reviewed with each child.