At Valley End Infant School we believe that English is at the heart of learning. Children must have good literacy skills to have the best of life chances. English involves speaking and listening, phonics, reading and writing.

“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 word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment”.

The National Curriculum September 2013

 Through being taught to write and speak fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas and emotions to others; through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

Speaking and Listening

At Valley End Infant School discussion is used to aid and develop speaking and listening across the curriculum. Through questioning they are given the opportunity to communicate their thinking and build on their own ideas and the ideas of others. The children are encouraged to elaborate and are given time to clarify their thoughts and explain their understanding.

Children are encouraged through carefully planned opportunities to build and use a wide vocabulary. Everyone’s opinions are valued and the children are taught the importance of taking turns when speaking and of listening carefully both to each other and to adults. The children are therefore able to gain confidence and competence in speaking, enabling them to develop the capacity to communicate clearly.

Phonics underpins reading and writing, is taught daily and is based on the Letters and Sounds-Synthetic Phonics scheme of work. Children are introduced initially to 42 basic sounds, which they are taught to blend for reading, and to segment for spelling, gradually building upon this as they explore more complex phonic patterns. Children are set across each year group to ensure that teaching is closely matched to pupils’ needs.

The teaching of reading at Valley End involves developing skills necessary for both word reading and comprehension. We use a wide variety of books to develop reading skills (fiction, non-fiction, poetry and stories) as well as recognised schemes. We use a variety of reading schemes that are supplemented by other books to give children a chance to practice and embed their new skills. Children’s responses to text and progress is tracked and developed through guided reading sessions and individual support.

Parents are also key to opportunities to read and discuss texts. Parent helpers are taught strategies in line with school so that sessions are more frequent, seamless and effective.

At Valley End there is also a very popular option for children to read books chosen by school on line at home through ‘Bug Club’.


Writing covers two strands; transcription, which includes spelling and handwriting, and composition.

Children practice skills in grammar and spelling and apply these in creative writing tasks. Children learn to write for a variety of purposes and in different contexts. We adopt a cursive script in handwriting from Early Years and children are encouraged to take pride in their work and present it neatly. The children are taught to plan their writing which they then refer back to when structuring their writing. They are encouraged to edit their work, checking for any spelling or grammatical mistakes and ensuring it makes sense. Children in KS1 work together as critical friends, supporting each other in improving their work.

Speaking and Listening

  • For a wide range of purposes
  • In different contexts
  • In groups discussion and interaction
  • In drama


  • The 42 sounds
  • Alternative graphemes
  • Blending for reading
  • Segmenting for spelling


  • Word reading skills and strategies
  • Comprehension; Understanding and interpreting texts
  • Engaging and responding to texts


  • Transcription; spelling, handwriting, punctuation
  • Composition; articulating and structuring ideas


  • Handwriting
  • Use word processing skills