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Our English Curriculum


A separate curriculum statement for Reading has been developed, this statement therefore focuses more closely on speaking, listening and writing.



Children at Kaizen often start their reading journey here; many of our children are from disadvantaged families that do not have books at home and begin their school life coming from vocabulary-poor environments. Kaizen has a high mobility rate (23% for 2021-22, nearly ¼ of our whole school cohort were new last year). At Kaizen we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. English has a pre-eminent place in education and society and a high-quality English education will ensure the development of fluency in all areas of English; speaking, listening, reading and writing. This is especially important due to the needs of our children, many of whom have limited preschool reading and writing experience, a lack of literary culture at home and poor spoken language skills.

At Kaizen, we recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts and genres. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning.

We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society. We aim to demonstrate the significance of learning to write and communicate through showcasing the future career opportunities available as part of our ‘Future Me’ initiative.

The English curriculum ensures that by the time our children leave in Year 6, they will be able to:

  • write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed.
  • write down their ideas quickly and accurately.
  • use a broad range of punctuation and grammar accurately and effectively within their writing.
  • spell words that they have been taught correctly and apply their knowledge of the English spelling structures when spelling less familiar words.
  • plan, draft and write for a range of audiences and reasons.
  • describe characters, settings and events when writing a narrative.
  • read, edit and improve their own and others’ writing by assessing the effectiveness of it.

Vocabulary development is a key aspect of our whole school curriculum as a result of the high proportion of children who start Kaizen Primary School with lower levels of vocabulary than is typical for their age. Vocabulary is taught explicitly to support the development of writing from nursery to year 6.

The English curriculum starts when the children begin their learning journey in the Early Years. Children are taught to communicate with others and talk as a writer through the ‘communication and language’ strand of the EYFS curriculum. They are taught to learn and use new vocabulary, listen and talk to others about something of interest, including asking questions to find out more. Children are taught to use well-formed sentences when articulating their own ideas, needs and wants and use connective language to give reasons and connect ideas. They are taught to develop social phrases, describe significant events and use talk to work out problems. Children are also taught to develop their fine-motor skills in order for them to become strong, confident writers through the ‘physical’ strand of the EYFS curriculum. They are taught to use one-handed tools and equipment, including pencils and how to hold them accurately so that they can use them with increasing control. By the end of reception children will be taught how to develop a handwriting style that they can use quickly and efficiently.  Alongside our systematic, synthetic phonics programme where children are taught to write using the sounds of the words we invite and encourage our children to explore writing and mark making through the ‘literacy’ strand of the EYFS curriculum. Children are taught that print carries meaning and meaning can be given to the marks they make. They are taught to write their own names and write words and short sentences.


All staff create a love of writing and a culture of speaking and listening within their classrooms alongside teaching the necessary skills and knowledge for children to become proficient and confident writers.

Our English curriculum is mapped in detail to ensure the consistency of content and teaching approaches; as well as setting clear expectations for each year group. This includes an overview of core texts, genres, language features and skill and knowledge progression for each area of the curriculum.

Our whole school approach to the teaching and learning of English involves the following:

-Clear leadership of English which provides all staff with high quality CPD opportunities through workshops, clear planning guidance and templates, in-class modelling and team teaching. Monitoring of planning, teaching and outcomes ensures the consistency of approach and correct pitch for each year group.

-Clear documentation is given to all staff which outlines the progression of skills and outcomes in grammar and punctuation, speaking and listening, spelling, handwriting and writing composition to ensure the consistency of teaching across all phases from early mark-making in EYFS through to extended writing in Upper Key Stage 2. This ensures staff understand and are confident with how the progression of writing skills works as a continuation of development.

-We believe that reading and writing are inextricably linked. Through our reading curriculum, we focus on using high quality texts to provide exposure to a wide range of literature which develops children’s understanding of narrative, language and knowledge of the wider world; this enables them to apply this understanding to their own writing.

-Wherever possible, children should be given the opportunity to write based on their real-life experiences, as this will ensure they have the schema to support high quality writing.

-Some pedagogical strategies are taken from the Talk for Writing programme, including text internalisation, text mapping (using images to represent words) and toolkits. The strategies are used to enable children to build their understanding of the relationship between reading and writing; and their ability to become confident storytellers and writers.

Teaching is focused on developing pupils’ competence in all areas of the English curriculum; understanding that different kinds of teaching are needed for each, but that all strands of the curriculum support one another and should be taught in conjunction as well as through discrete sessions.

At Kaizen, we believe that all learners should primarily access the first quality teaching and be immersed in class discussions in English lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners include:

  • A pre-teach of topic specific vocabulary
  • Printouts of work/presentations to scaffold with independent tasks
  • Instructions broken down into manageable chunks and more time given to read and write.
  • Dual coding is used to support our early readers and writers.
  • Next steps are selected specifically for the individual learner so that they are making progress at their own, more suitable pace.

Children with high levels of need have a broad curriculum offer, linking into National Curriculum themes, but with scaffolded learning which meets their needs, ensuring they are also making good progress from their initial starting points. The themes are planned to ensure that English skills and knowledge can be embedded and built upon.

We understand that children have missed opportunities of learning because of the COVID outbreak and the resulting distance and blended learning models that were used in the previous school years. Our current teaching model ensures that any missed opportunities are addressed before teaching new concepts and topics. This pre teaching approach ensures that children are able to access the new learning and build upon their knowledge and skills.

A systematic, synthetic phonics programme teaches early readers, particularly in EYFS and KS1, to ensure the underpinning notion that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. High quality phonic work is our prime approach to teaching early writing; we have developed a highly skilled team of practitioners that ensure all children meet their full potential for phonic knowledge and early mark making skills. This approach has led to well above national outcomes in phonics. We ensure that phonic work is a continued part of our approach throughout the key stages, particularly for those who need further consolidation of their phonetic knowledge to support their spelling.

Children develop both the confidence and skills in speaking and listening through planned learning opportunities across the curriculum including drama, group discussions, poetry and role play. It is important that children are exposed to a language rich environment, with appropriate and expressive speech modelled by staff at all times, as many begin their educational journey at Kaizen with difficulties expressing themselves orally and spoken language is an intrinsic part of the writing process.

Components of the teaching of English

Literacy-based subjects make up a large part of each year group’s timetable ensuring sufficient weekly coverage of the following areas:

Reading: (See Reading Curriculum Statement for a detailed outline on how the teaching of reading and reading for pleasure is implemented across the school through shared reading, independent reading, reading lessons and book borrowing.)

Handwriting: Handwriting sessions are taught using our own Kaizen handwriting curriculum which ensures a consistent progression of handwriting skills throughout EYFS-6. In EYFS there is a focus on pre-writing skills to develop fine motor skills before moving on to the formation of recognisable letters.

Spelling: To be a successful writer, children need to be able to spell accurately. High-quality phonics work ensures that children know the relationships between sounds and letters; this is the prime approach to spelling in EYFS and Year 1 but all year groups use phonics-based activities during spelling sessions to ensure this knowledge is secure. Children in Years 2-6 engage in daily spelling lessons which focus on the teaching of spelling conventions, common exception words and morphological knowledge through a recap, teach, practise, apply, and assess cycle.

Grammar and punctuation: Grammar and punctuation is taught in context through the studying of specific features in core texts, this is built upon with short, discrete grammar activities during English lessons to ensure children’s ability to recall grammar and punctuation knowledge.

English: Daily English lessons provide children with an opportunity to apply the skills they have learned across the English curriculum as described above. English lessons are based on the study and enjoyment of high-quality texts and follow a three phase structure: reading as readers, reading as writers and writing as writers. All literacy based lessons should follow the review-practise-teach-apply four part lesson structure to ensure retainment and progress and should also employ the ‘I do, We do, You do’ strategy to ensure an effective transition from modelling to independent learning.


The successful approach at Kaizen results in a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. They are confident to take risks in their reading and writing and love to discuss and share their ideas. Every child will speak, listen, read and write confidently and fluently. They will be sufficiently equipped with the literacy skills they need for their secondary education and future lives. Children will be clear about the careers available to them as part of our ‘Future Me’ aspect of the curriculum and continue to explore opportunities available to them.


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