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English and the Arts

The English and the Arts area of our curriculum includes the subjects of English, Art and Music. This curriculum area aims to equip our children with the key literacy skills needed to succeed in education and beyond.  It encourages self-expression and creativity and can build confidence as well as a sense of individual identity.



At Dormansland Primary School we believe that a quality (English) curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We focus on the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. As children begin to read, we focus on decoding, primarily through phonics, in addition to other strategies e.g. whole word recognition, rhyme and context. As children build fluency, comprehension skills become our main area of focus and questioning looks at skills such as re-telling, inference and prediction. We believe that high-quality literature is key to motivating children to read and instilling in children a love of literature.


In KS1 pupils are emergent and developing readers and pupils will focus on decoding using phonic strategies as required by the 2014 curriculum, but also understanding what the words they are decoding mean and how they contribute to the meaning of the whole text. Central to our approach is the teaching of systematic phonics using Bug Club Phonics. Daily, discrete, high-quality teaching alongside effective assessment and tracking, helps to ensure that children meet the ambitious reading targets that are set for them. 

At Dormansland Primary we have, in recent years, reviewed and revised our stock of children’s texts and invested in new Bug Club phonic texts, ranging from decodable texts to banded fiction and non-fiction books. We identify children who need support and provide intervention in the most effective and efficient way that we can. We run intervention reading groups and are fortunate to have parents who come in regularly to hear children read. We help each child maximise their potential by providing help and support where necessary whilst striving to make children independent workers once we have helped to equip them with the confidence, tools and strategies that they need.

We run parent information sessions on phonics and reading for EYFS, KS1, reading, writing and SATs for Year 2 parents and a SATs meeting for Year 6 parents so that they understand age-related expectations. These sessions are always very well attended by parents and carers, who often comment about how helpful the sessions have been for them.

Marking is relevant in English and across the curriculum, with teachers 'live marking' and acknowledging and supporting the children within the lesson. The children have 'responding to marking’ opportunities. Regular English book scrutinies are carried out to check all teachers are following our marking policy rigorously.

Part of the daily teaching of writing focusses on the development of grammar, punctuation and spelling skills as outlined in The 2014 National Curriculum. These basic writing skills are developed on a regular basis, through a wide range of games and short written activities. Grammar is taught where possible through a quality text and in the context of high-quality engaging writing. It is an expectation that, from EYFS, all children are taught specific grammar terminology and application so that they develop competence and confidence from an early age. Indeed, from EYFS onwards, an emphasis has been placed on encouraging children to build up an understanding of sentence structure, the accurate use of punctuation, the application of spelling rules and the identification of different word classes. Appendix 1 and 2 outlines The 2014 Statutory Curriculum for Grammar.



We believe that writing should be a creative/developmental process both at a functional and an imaginative level. All attempts at writing are valued, and we know that all children have the potential to be successful writers. The compositional and transcriptional skills are taught alongside the creative aspects. Immersion in reading, talk and preparation for writing is essential to the writing development process. The skills are transferable and this means 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 Dormansland Primary to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations continue with them as they grow and develop. 

Early Reading and Phonics


At Dormansland Primary School, our intent is to:

  • Recognise that reading is the core skill to everything that children do. It is integral to our school curriculum and a fundamental life skill that impacts on the acquisition of knowledge.
  • Develop positive attitudes towards reading so that it is a pleasurable and meaningful activity.
  • Develop fluent, independent and reflective readers who are confident to talk about books and authors.
  • Adopt the principles and recommendations set out by The Reading Framework (2022)
  • Equip pupils with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage/the reading National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.



At Dormansland Primary School:

  • Phonics is the main approach to teaching early word reading. Teachers use Bug Club Phonics, which is a DfE approved systematic synthetic phonics programme.
  • In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (autumn term), there is a daily discrete phonics session.
  • Following an initial assessment, sequences of phonics sessions follow the organisation and order of sounds in the programme.
  • Pupils in Reception are taught to read and spell words using Phase 2 and 3 GPCs, and words with adjacent consonants (Phase 4) with fluency and accuracy.
  • Pupils in Year 1 review Phases 3 and 4 and are taught to read and spell words using Phase 5 GPCs with fluency and accuracy.
  • Rapid Catch-up resources are used to teach selected pupils.
  • During sessions, all children are expected to participate by listening and responding, and by practising and applying what they are learning (principle taken from The Reading Framework 2022).
  • Additional year group objectives will be taught through English sessions.
  • Texts to develop additional reading skills are well-chosen to ensure they link to wider curriculum themes and develop children’s comprehension skills.
  • Home reading books are closely aligned to the order that sounds are taught in the programme to ensure children are taking home fully decodable books to practise and develop word reading fluency once they have learnt specific sounds.
  • Children are expected and encouraged to read at home every day. Reading diaries log reading activity, including pages read.   
  • Effective CPD is available to staff to ensure high levels of confidence and knowledge are maintained.
  • Assessment is informed by observations during phonics sessions, verbal feedback and half-term phonic and screening assessments.
  • Whole class guided reading sessions, based on an age-appropriate texts, support the development of comprehension skills. This also develops oracy skills and builds on key vocabualry. 
  • Summative judgements (Working Towards/Working At/Working Above age-related Expectations) are recorded each term, discussed at pupil progress meetings and in end of year reports for all KS1 pupils.
  • At the end of KS1 pupils sit Reading SATs papers. These results will be used to validate teacher-assessment judgement in Reading (Working Towards/Working At/Working Above age-related Expectations)
  • At the end of Reception, a teacher-assessed judgement of expected or emerging is made for the word reading ELG and for the comprehension ELG and reported to parents.
  • A Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is administered in June. This determines whether or not children are able to decode and use phonic knowledge to an age appropriate standard.
  • A love of reading is promoted through vibrant and inviting book corners in classrooms, staff sharing a story with the class at the end of each day and whole class guided reading sessions.
  • Whole school themed events raise the profile, as well as promote a love of reading, e.g. National Poetry Day and World Book Day.
  • Effective use of author visits (in-person and virtual) are planned, to enrich and enhance learning experiences and to develop children’s cultural capital in reading.


At Dormansland Primary School, our pupils will:

  • Become confident, fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.
  • The ability to decode and work out unfamiliar words in any new texts they encounter even when they have come to the end of the Bug Club phonics programme.
  • A richer vocabulary which will enable them to raise the standard and quality of their spoken and written vocabulary.
  • High aspirations, which will see them through to further study, work and a successful adult life.



Children have the confidence to explore their creativity, expressing and challenging themselves through a range of media and resources. They have an understanding and appreciation of the impact of artists and architects on culture throughout history and how this is reflected in the local community. They are able to evaluate, reflect on and revisit their own creations, making distinction between what is a developmental stage and what is the finished article.


The aesthetic development of children is encouraged at Dormansland through music, drama and art. Art gives children the opportunity for practical, creative activities and the means to express their ideas in a visual form. Children enjoy painting and sketching, using a variety of media, observational drawing, collage, pattern making, modelling, pottery and printing. Our children are provided with opportunities to expand their art skills using a range of ICT programs and digital equipment, as well as exploring and using the outdoors to influence their work. In addition to illustrating their own work, the children study the work of different artists and architects to support and influence their ideas.



Children have a love of music and enjoy singing and performing within the school and the wider community. Through a rich curriculum children experience playing, composing and appreciating a variety of music styles and instruments.


Children are given the opportunity to explore and work with sound, as well as use an extensive range of instruments. Our curriculum adopts the appreciation of music as well as developing creativity and technical ability. Music topics are sequenced so that children’s knowledge and skills develop progressively throughout topics and each year group. Dormansland uses the 'Sing-Up' scheme of work as the basis for its curriculum planning. This scheme build upon prior learning. While there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge in each teaching unit, the progression planned into the scheme of work means that the children are increasingly challenged as they move through the school. Children are encouraged to compose and perform, thereby providing a further means of communication. They are encouraged to listen to a variety of music and actively participate in movement and drama linked to music. Children are given a range of musical experiences from various countries around the world including African drumming, Recorders and Sea shanty songs.

Visiting peripatetic music teachers offer tuition in a wide range of musical instruments and both the Infant and Junior choirs have an active role in the school, participating in concerts and events throughout the year.