English Curriculum Statement
An appreciation for rich quality literature underpins the English curriculum at Humberstone and we
endeavour to promote a lifelong love of the written word and the English language. The National
Curriculum English objectives are delivered through a bespoke, carefully planned and sequenced
progression of quality texts which form Novel Studies. By the time they leave Key Stage 2, pupils have
had valuable exposure to at least twenty four quality works of literature, including picture books and
the best classic and modern poetry. Novel studies are meticulously planned to ensure children
acquire the skills necessary to become confident readers and writers, able to communicate effectively
both verbally and through written work. Furthermore, the curriculum actively promotes a love of
reading for pleasure and development of skills and attributes beyond academic achievement. The
careful selection of texts introduces children to cultural diversities, develops their ability to empathise
with others and promotes curiosity. The English skills of reading, writing and oracy are also carefully
woven into the wider curriculum. Project based learning outcomes in particular provide ample
opportunities for children to apply these skills through forms such as scientific enquiries, debates,
speeches, non-fiction texts and creative outcomes.
Our English curriculum is organised into units of work which may be taught over several weeks or up
to half a term depending on the text being studied, and the opportunities it gives for teaching certain
National Curriculum objectives. The texts chosen provide the progression in challenge, length and
technical skills over each academic year and build well on prior learning.
Learning journeys are carefully mapped to build towards high quality written outcomes in the shorter
term and at the end of units of study. The length of teaching sequences vary depending on the age
and stage of the children, the skills being taught and the particular needs of the cohort. Each
sequence typically includes oracy work, word level and language work, application to sentences,
grammar skills specific to the writing genre and the opportunity for children to independently write
and redraft their work to a standard of excellence. Reading and Writing Skills ladders, which break
down the National Curriculum objectives, are used to plan teaching sequences and for formative and
summative assessment purposes. These have been carefully crafted to ensure clear progression
between year groups and consistency across the trust.
Whilst the Novel Study curriculum incorporates many reading skills, explicit teaching of reading also
comes through daily phonics sessions in the Infant school and Guided Reading sessions in both the
Infant and Junior schools. Skills ladders are used for planning and assessment purposes and texts are
chosen to reflect the ability of the pupils, allowing for challenge and embedding skills. Teachers model
the reading skill before allowing for guided and independent practise of the skill within each session.
The lowest attaining children also receive daily 1:1 reading support to develop fluency and
comprehension in order to close gaps in the learning and accelerate progress.
A holistic approach is taken to reading, writing and oracy. For each novel study we consider “Big
questions” which engage the children to think critically and develop their understanding of deeper
themes and morals within the text with links being made to the PSHE curriculum. In addition, children
continue to write for a range of purposes and audiences in interdisciplinary projects which cover the
wider curriculum and are rooted in authenticity and academic rigor.
Termly scrutinies of every child’s English book allow the subject leader and Senior Leadership Team to
identify progress in writing skills against the writing skills ladders. Detailed feedback is given to
individual staff and teams highlighting areas for improvement. The scrutiny pays particular attention
to groups of learners including disadvantaged pupils and those with Special Educational Needs. This
feedback enables teachers to address gaps in learning and secure greater progress for all. Each half
term children complete a piece of writing in their assessment book which is then moderated in teams
and levelled for both formative and summative assessment purposes. Assessments against the
reading skills ladders and tracking of book bands show progression in reading for individual children.
Tracking and close analysis of statutory data points: EYFS Early Learning Goals, Year 1 phonics screen,
KS1 and KS2 SATs all indicate the impact of the high quality teaching and learning in English. EYFS
outcomes have seen an upwards trend in recent years 73% (2017), 82% (2018), with the most recent
data (2019) showing 76% of children achieving GLD at the end of EYFS.
The year 1 phonics screen has also increased in the last three years from 84% (2017) to 89% (2018)
and 82% in 2019. Statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage 1 also show improvement in
achievement over time with the most recent data showing 79% at expected level or greater in reading,
and 77% for writing.
At Key Stage 2, the 2018/19 data shows that 84% of children met the expected standard for reading
compared with 73% nationally and 88% of children met the expected standard for writing compared
with 78% nationally. At Key Stage 2, the three year average of both reading attainment and the
number of pupils achieving at least the expected standard in reading, writing and maths combined is
above the national average with progress scores broadly in line with national figures.
Disadvantaged pupils often perform at least as well as their peers and often as well as or above other
pupils nationally. These national data sets from across several key stages show the impact of the
English curriculum and the attainment and progress achieved by the pupils at Humberstone.
By the time children leave Humberstone they are confident and skilled communicators both in oral
and written forms. Our children talk passionately and skillfully about literature and have developed
critical thinking skills and a precision control of language. They write with control and flair for a range
of purposes, including for pleasure, and are very well prepared for the challenges of secondary