English at Cathedral School

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The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

At Cathedral School we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn and be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate


At Cathedral School, we ensure that every child has access to a rich and varied selection of texts we we want every child to become confident readers. This journey begins from Nursery and lasts all the way through to Year 6.


Being a confident reader involves comprehending the words and meaning of what you are reading. These elements have been broken down into Reading VIPERS (Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence or Summarise). These are the skills that are taught during reading sessions in school.

You may find these questions useful to ask your child when you are reading with them at home.

V • What do the words …… and …… suggest about the character, setting and mood?

• Which keyword tells you about the character/setting/mood?

• Find and highlight the word that is closest in meaning to…….

• Find a word or phrase which shows/suggests that…….

I • How do these words make the reader feel? How does this paragraph suggest this?

• What impression of …… do you get from these paragraphs?

• What voice might these characters use?

• Who is telling the story?

P • From the cover what do you think this text is going to be about?

• What is happening now? What happened before this? What will happen after?

• What does this paragraph suggest will happen next? What makes you think this?

• Do you think the choice of setting will influence how the plot develops?

E • What structures has the author used?

• What is the purpose of this text feature?

• How does the author engage the reader here?

• Which section was the most interesting/exciting part?

R • How would you describe this story/text? What genre is it? How do you know?

• What happened to…? What does…. do? How ….. is ……..?

• What can you learn from …… from this section?

• Give one example of……

S • What happened after …….?

• What was the first thing that happened in the story?

• Can you summarise in a sentence the opening/middle/end of the story?

• In what order do these chapter headings come in the story?


Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e unskilled readers) when they start school.

Through our teaching, we aim to develop children’s skills across a range of purposes, for a range of audiences and across a range of subject areas. In order to become effective writers who can demonstrate real purpose in their writing, it is imperative that children are taught to select carefully from the skills that they are taught. They should be provided with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the impact and effects that these elements have on those who read their writing. Extensive discussion about relevant vocabulary, sentence structures and suitable features for a text are essential if children are to learn to make astute choices as authors.

Spelling and Grammar

Spelling and Grammar is an extremely important part of writing and is incorporated into every English lesson.

From Year 1 onwards, pupils are given weekly spelling tests to develop their spelling skills and to introduce them to a wider variety of vocabulary. Often, spellings will be given to coincide with their class topic of learning as these will be the words that they will be using on a regular basis.

Having a strong understanding of grammar is fundamental to writing. Please see the documents below to see the grammar content which will be covered within each year group.

Year 1 grammar

Year 2 grammar

Year 3 grammar

Year 4 grammar

Year 5 grammar

Year 6 grammar