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20 Daws Lane, Mill Hill, London, NW7 4SL

020 8906 2983 | Contact: Mrs Fraser, School Administrator |

Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School



Knowledge of English, and a command of the spoken and written word, is an essential resource for a child’s learning in school. It is a tool used across the whole school curriculum, as well as being a subject in its own right. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at Etz Chaim will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum. Through our approach, we will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening.


The National Curriculum divides English into five strands:  Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing, Spelling and Handwriting. 



Speaking and Listening

Beginning in Nursery and continuing through all Primary years the children develop their capacity to express themselves effectively for a variety of purposes. This is fostered through guided groups with adult support and consolidated through independent tasks across the curriculum. Working with adults and other members of the class, the children have opportunities for listening and responding to high-quality texts, giving opinions, replying to instructions and questions, describing experiences and feelings and expressing themselves or the role of a character through drama performances. Children are also provided with opportunities to compose, recite and perform poetry. From the first day of Nursery the children participate in small world and role play opportunities which are extended across all years.



Children learn not just the mechanics of reading, but to become accomplished, comprehending readers; developing the habit of silent reading and a love of reading for life. Each class has a designated reading area to help promote the love and high importance that reading holds in our school. These reading areas provide opportunities for children to support their learning with topic related content, but also are inviting children to enter a peaceful calm relaxing space within the classroom.


This year we are continuing to embed the 'Power of Reading' scheme into our curriculum. This has placed high quality literature at the heart of our English lessons and link with subject content throughout the curriculum. We also launched a successful ‘Book Week’ focusing on the genre ‘Traditional Tales’. This allowed the children to explore different Traditional Tales and understanding this genre of books in detail.


From Reception, Phonics is taught through the use of Read Write Inc. scheme, and this is then continued through KS1 until the children are fluent readers. Phonics is a systematic approach to understanding the sounds of the English language. Each session is fun and immersive, eventually allowing children to read fluently and accurately.

Across school we use the Oxford Owl Book Banding reading scheme, which incorporates fiction, non-fiction texts, poetry, play scripts and comics. Two books are sent home weekly with every child starting from Reception. Children are given several opportunities to change their book within lesson time. We have a school library which houses a range of different genres and caters for all children from Nursery to Year 6.


Guided reading is also an integral part of our English curriculum, where groups of children engage with a number of carefully planned sessions working with a teacher or independently, exploring the meaning of the books being read. Children are read with frequently by reading volunteers and members of staff.



As the children mature, they develop a growing ability to write in different styles, for different audiences and purposes, e.g. stories, diaries, letters, invitations, captions, posters, plans, reporting on projects and poetry. Cohesively planned, modelled and implemented by all staff, writing genres are creatively developed throughout both key stages.


Emphasis is laid upon drafting, as a process to encourage children to improve the construction, spelling and layout of their written work. All classes have access to computers, which are also used to develop the children’s writing through programs such as Clicker 7. Much of their writing is developed from the use of high quality literature, as the children respond to plot, character, illustration and ideas.


The handwriting scheme ‘Nelson Handwriting’ is used from Year 2 onwards after perfecting their letter formation through the Read Write Inc. scheme. We have seen pleasing improvements in the presentation and cursive writing skills across the whole school.



The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.  With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.


As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives.  We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations, which we have nurtured here Etz Chaim travels with them and continues to grow and develop as they do.


The new English curriculum has a big emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar (also known as SPaG).  SPaG is taught across the whole school and each year will develop pupil’s knowledge and build on previous learning.  We use fun, engaging and practical activities to support the children’s learning through guided groups as well as in continuous provision.  
As well as being able to spell words correctly, use a wide range of vocabulary and punctuate well, they need to grasp the meaning of grammatical terms such as noun, verb, adjective, prefix, pronoun and adverb. Along with this they will learn what phrases and clauses are and how to use them, understand what connectives are and how they work, know how to turn a question into a command, and so on.  This terminology can be a stumbling block even for children who are otherwise good at reading and writing.
As a school we have created a Grammar Terminology document to support your child at home which can be found on their class page on the website.
Support for Spelling
When children are ready to come off RWI (Read, Write Inc) they develop their understanding of spelling through guided groups of Support for Spelling.   We use fun, engaging and practical activities to support the children’s learning during Support for Spelling.
Support for Spelling contains a range of materials and resources including:
  • knowledge of the history of spelling and the English language
  • a range of suggested strategies, approaches, and activities to help improve and practise spelling
  • a collection of spelling learning objectives and teaching focuses 
  • programmes for Years 2 to 6 which draw on the learning objectives and teaching focus

Please click here to view the spelling appendix for Year 1

Please click here to view the spelling appendix for Year 2

Please click here to view the spelling appendix for Year 3

Please click here to view the spelling appendix for Year 4

Please click here to view the spelling appendix for Year 5

Please click here to view the spelling appendix for Year 6


Guided Reading
Reading is the key skill children need to learn in order to access the whole curriculum.  As a school we believe that the teaching of reading is of paramount importance.
Guided reading at Etz Chaim happens during table top, every morning where a group of six children, once a week focus on a particular reading skill to develop and consolidate.
The teacher selects a book or text that the children are able to read without too much difficulty, (95% accuracy).  There is a clear teaching focus for the session based upon the year group’s objectives and the children's next steps.  This focus is shared with the children so that they know what they are learning.  There is a balance of teacher and child discussion, with the teacher prompting, and facilitating discussion rather than dominating.
Guided reading is seen as a beneficial and valuable way to teach reading because:
  • It can be less intimidating for children
  • Children can learn from each other
  • The children are taught specific reading skills
  • The session has a clear objective
  • All children are reading all of the text
Hearing Children Read Individually
All children from Reception upwards are hear read individually at least once a week. A team of parents, grandparents and volunteers from the local community hear the children read as well as the Class Teacher and other support staff.
The children change their books twice a week from a large selection of book-banded books from a variety of publishers.

Power of Reading

“Reading for pleasure, achievement for life”

Throughout the school we teach literacy through the Power of Reading programme.

The Power of Reading approach has raised achievement in over 2500 schools across England and internationally. Here at Whitmore we have seen The Power of Reading transform the way the teachers teach and the way children feel about reading and writing. Children engage with high quality picture books, novels, poetry and non-fiction through a wide range of teaching approaches. Children are immersed into the text through music, art, drama, discussion and role-play. Other approaches include responding to illustrations, ‘Book Talk’, storymapping and book making. Children take ownership of the text and engage with it deeply.

Please click here to find out more about our learning through the Power of Reading.

Please click here to see the new National Curriculum end of year expectations for Writing.

Please click here to see the new National Curriculum end of year expectation for reading.