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Penn Wood Primary

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English Curriculum Intent Statement

For more information about supporting your children in English, please visit the following pages on our website:

English at Penn Wood School


Reading, writing and oracy are central to the curriculum offered at Penn Wood.  Reading and writing are taught within English lessons, but we strive to maximise opportunities to explore reading and writing across the curriculum. Books are at the heart of everything we do at Penn Wood.




To provide a language rich environment that promotes a culture of reading and writing;
To develop in pupils an interest in and a love of books and literature that will not only support their learning across the curriculum but also enrich their lives;
To value and use books as a basis for learning, pleasure, talk and play;
To teach children the craft of writing in order to develop in children the confidence and skills to write well for a range of purposes and audience;
Teach the basics – grammar, spelling,  handwriting and punctuation - to liberate creativity;
To foster in pupils the confidence, desire and ability to express their views and opinions both orally and in writing;
To value and celebrate diversity in culture and language.



Spoken Language


Speaking and Listening permeates the whole curriculum. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills for the ‘here and now’ and in readiness for later life. The school focuses heavily on oracy across curriculum areas.


The majority of children have English as an Additional Language and Penn Wood encourages fluency in English and home language.  It is recognised that many children enter school with a paucity of both home language and English and in addition, many children have speech and language difficulties. The school’s staffing structure, resources and professional learning programme all take account of the above. The School uses ‘I Talk’ in Early Years and Year 1, prioritises ELKLAN and NELI training for practitioners, employs its own speech and language assistant and commits to whole school staff training.


We believe that every child can be an articulate communicator if they are taught how to use spoken language in a range of contexts for a range of purposes. Explicit teaching of this knowledge about language is consolidated through regular practice for fluency, with timely opportunities for deliberate practice, where children apply what they have learned in more formal/challenging contexts, e.g. presentations, poetry recitation, drama performance, debate and collaborative problem solving.


We draw upon the 'Oracy Framework' developed by Cambridge University in partnership with School 21, to scaffold the design of our curriculum.




It is morally imperative for Penn Wood School to teach every child to read, regardless of social and economic circumstances, the ethnicity of pupils, the language spoken at home and most SEN or disabilities. We are sharply accountable for the progress and success of our children. Unless children have learned to read, the rest of the curriculum remains a secret garden to which they will never have access. 

Children are taught to decode using our phonics scheme - Read, Write, Inc. Phonics. See the Early Reading section of our website for more information.

We believe that good readers make good writers and so we actively teach using Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach.  'Reading as a Reader' and 'Reading as a Writer' are both necessary pre-requisites to independent writing. Using Pie Corbett's Talk for Reading process also enables us to teach fluency and deep comprehension across a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Please see the separate section on reading for more detail on our approach:




At Penn Wood, children are immersed in Talk for Writing from Nursery to Year 6. Its three phases (Imitation, Innovation and Independent Application) mean that children are explicitly taught how to compose stories using the full range of story structures (e.g. warning tales) and how to create certain effects (e.g. suspense) in their writing. The same process applies to the teaching of non-fiction writing. Children explore quality models, and draw upon their structure and language to create their own pieces of writing. Teachers act as expert models of the writing process in daily shared writing sessions and there are regular opportunities for children’s writing and ideas to be shared, displayed, published and celebrated.


The end goal of the teaching of any writing should be to develop children into successful independent writers, and so at the end of each 'unit' - once all of the teaching, modelling and internalisation of knowledge has taken place - there is an opportunity for children to produce a final, independent piece of work.


Grammar is taught explicitly through Talk for Writing units, as research shows that knowledge is best internalised when taught within a familiar context.


Writing is a primary means of expression, both for personal cognitive purposes and for communicating meaning with others.  Pupils learn how to write with confidence, fluency, imagination and accuracy by orchestrating their knowledge of context and composition (text level), grammatical knowledge (sentence level) and knowledge of phonics, word recognition and graphic knowledge (word level).


We provide a wide variety of reasons and purposes for writing and, in the Early Years, provide many opportunities for child-initiated and role-play writing.


As soon as children are able to form most letters correctly and have a good pencil grip, we teach a fluent and legible handwriting style that empowers children to write with confidence and creativity in line with Penn Wood Primary and Nursery School's Handwriting Policy. We encourage children to ‘have a go’ at writing as soon as possible and to use their phonic skills and knowledge to spell.


Following on from the school's phonics programme, children from Year 2 to 6 are taught discrete spelling lessons using Herts for Learning Essentials Spelling programme.

Please read our Talk for Writing Parents' Guide for more information about the stages of the writing process.

As a Talk for Writing Training Centre, Penn Wood offers training both within school by hosting training days, and externally to schools nationwide. For more information, please visit this page on our website:

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