Northfields Infants and Nursery School

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Northfields Infants and Nursery School

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English at Northfields Infants and Nursery School


At Northfields Infants and Nursery School we recognise the importance that a strong foundation in English plays in preparing children for their future education journey and wider role in society. Our English Curriculum follows the guidance set out in the 2014 National Curriculum Programmes of Study in Spoken Language, Reading and Writing.


We aim to: - 

  • Ensure that children are given many opportunities to develop and practise their speaking and listening skills across the curriculum through role-play, drama activities, debate and discussion.
  • Build confidence in and develop the skills that children need to enable them to discuss, elaborate on and explain their ideas and understanding as preparation for writing.
  • Encourage our children to develop a passion for books and reading, both for pleasure and for information
  • Ensure our children leave Year 2 as fluent and confident readers with well-developed comprehension skills
  • Support our children with their development of a wide vocabulary and an understanding of grammar and the conventions of Standard English
  • Develop children’s ability to write clearly and coherently in a range of styles and for different purposes





Spoken Language

At Northfields the development of strong Spoken Language skills is at the heart of our whole curriculum. Teachers plan regular opportunities to enable children to develop their confidence and practise speaking and listening skills in safe and supportive environments. In the EYFS skills are practised in circle times and snack times and through a variety of play based and role-play activities. We value the importance of play in the development of speaking and listening skills and every class from Nursery to Year 2 has a role-play corner in their classroom. In Key Stage 1 Spoken Language is taught through regular opportunities for discussion, explanation and opportunities to ask and answer questions. We are strong supporters of the Talk for Writing approach which encourages children to learn to recite a familiar story and then to use these ideas and structures to construct new versions of the story, finally leading to original pieces of work. Throughout the school year teachers plan regular speaking and listening weeks where children have the opportunity to participate in drama based activities such as hot seating, conscience alley and role-play. Children in every year group participate in class assemblies two or three times a year and we traditionally present our annual Christmas School Performance which allows the Year 2 children a wonderful opportunity to perform in front of a large audience.


Philosophy for Children

We have a whole school approach to Philosophy for Children (P4C) which involves the children thinking about a statement or question which is introduced at the beginning of every week and reviewed at the end. Each half term has a different focus with the emphasis placed not on the answer but the explanation of their reasoning behind their decision. With P4C we stress that there is no such thing as a wrong answer and every response is equally valid as long as it can be explained. As a school we are extremely positive about the benefits of P4C and have found that children are much more willing to ‘have a go’ and share their ideas and they demonstrate a greater ability to justify their responses showing a deeper level of thinking. 



Our goal is to inspire our children to develop a love of books and reading from a young age which will stay with them throughout their lives. In addition to our well stocked school library, each classroom has their own book corner and children are always encouraged to access this to share a book in their free time. Each teacher makes it a priority to read regularly to their children and we aim to finish each day with class story time. Throughout our daily reading sessions children have opportunities to practise both aspects of reading, i.e. Word reading and comprehension by participating in a range of activities including individual reading with an adult, guided group reading, comprehension and spelling activities and learning via our online reading and phonics platform, Lexia. Children are also able to access Lexia at home. We value the role that parents can provide in supporting their child’s reading development and encourage regular reading at home by providing reading books and library books to be shared.



Reading is taught across the school through daily sessions of synthetic phonics. We follow the DfE’s Letters and Sounds programme. Children are taught the sounds (phoneme) that each letter or group of letters (grapheme) makes and then they begin to blend these sounds together to read words. The Letters and Sounds programme is comprised of six distinct phases which the children move through from Nursery to Year 2. Children are required to take the National Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, in June. In Year 2, once our children are proficient in word reading the focus changes to developing reading comprehension and grammar skills. The table below explains the progression through each phonics phase.




Progression through the phonics phases.




Common Exception Words

Where and how long.



Linking into Communication, Language and Literacy (CLL) of EYFS

  • Environmental sounds
  • Instrumental sounds
  • Body percussion
  • Rhythm and Rhyme
  • Alliteration
  • Voice Sounds
  • Oral blending and segmenting



On-going - beginning in Nursery and throughout Reception.



Set 1: s, a, t, p

Set 2: i, n, m, d

Set 3: g, o, c, k

Set 4: ck, e, u, r

Set 5: h, b, f, ff, l, ll, ss












(6 weeks)



Set 6: j, v, w, x

Set 7: y, z, zz, qu

Consonant digraphs: ch, sh, th, ng

Vowel digraphs: ai, ee, igh, oa, oo, ar, or, ur, ow, oi, ear, air, ure, er



he, she, we, me,

be, was, you, they, all,

are, my, her




(12 weeks)


No new sounds – consolidate learning.

Consonant blends and 2 syllable words.




(4 – 6) weeks



Phonics Screening Check in June

New phonemes -

ay, ou, ie, ea, oy, ir, ue, aw, wh, ph, ew, oe, au, ey, a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, u-e


  • Alternative pronunciations of known phonemes
  • Spelling Rules – plurals, suffix, prefix



oh, their, people, Mr, Mrs, looked, called, asked, could





Year 1

Throughout Year 1

(approx. 30 weeks)





s, es, ing, ed, er, est, y, en, ful, ly, ment, ness, en


  • Spelling Rules
  • More alternative pronunciations
  • Grammar

Aiming to become fluent readers and competent spellers by end of KS1.



Year 2

Throughout the year.



Glossary of Phonics Terms


Adjacent consonants

Two (or three) letters making two (or three) sounds. E.g. the first three letters of ‘strap’ are adjacent consonants. Previously known as a consonant cluster.

Alien Word

A nonsense word that can be sounded out and blended together to check that pupils are applying phonics when reading words. Used in the phonics screening check.


The process of using phonics for reading. Children identify and synthesise/blend the phonemes in order to make a word. E.g. s-n-a-p, blended together, reads snap.

Consonant digraph

Two consonants which make one sound. E.g. sh, ch, th, ph

CVC, CCVC etc.

The abbreviations used for consonant-vowel-consonant and consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant words, used to describe the order of sounds. E.g. cat, ship and sheep are all CVC words. Black and prize could be described as CCVC words.


Two letters which together make one sound. There are different types of digraph – vowel, consonant and split.


A letter or group of letters representing one sound (phoneme) E.g. ck, igh, t, sh


The smallest unit of sound in a word.


Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondence. Being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.


The process of using phonics for writing. Children listen to the whole word and break it down into the constituent phonemes, choosing an appropriate grapheme to represent each phoneme. E.g. ship can be segmented as sh-i-p.

Split digraph

A split digraph also contains two letters (a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e and u-e) but they are split between a consonant, for example; make, bike and pure.


Three letters which together make one sound. E.g. dge, igh

Vowel digraph

A digraph in which at least one of the letters is a vowel E.g. ea, ay, ai, ar

Sound Button

A dot drawn under each phoneme in a word to help with blending the sounds to read the word.

Sound Stick

A line drawn under a digraph in a word to help with blending the sounds to read the word.









In EYFS the initial emphasis is focused on children making marks on paper which represent something to them. Over time the mark making develops into letter formation and then into single words and short phrases. Throughout the school we follow the Twinkl handwriting programme which teaches the children letter shapes which are grouped into similar shape families. Once correct letter formation has been established children will be taught how to begin joining some of their letters in Year 2.


In all year groups we use ‘Have a Go Writing’ as a means of encouraging children to give writing a go without worrying too much about perfect presentation or spelling. We want children to feel confident in their writing and this comes with regular practise. Children may be given a picture as stimulus for their ‘Have a Go Writing’ or they may be asked to write about a topic with which they are already familiar. Children across Key Stage 1 are taught the differences between fiction and non-fiction writing and learn how to write for a range of purposes including narratives, poetry, reports, explanation texts, lists, instructions and recounts.


Grammar and spelling are taught in discrete sessions in Key Stage 1 and the children are given weekly spellings to learn which are tested informally in school. Each group of spellings follows a particular spelling rule. When marking children’s writing teachers initially focus on the correct spelling of common exception words (tricky words which cannot be segmented using phonic sounds) and look for children to make phonetically plausible attempts at other words. Once each spelling rule has been learnt teachers will look to see this applied in the children’s independent writing.



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