Core skills of Literacy and Oracy

Success in almost any area of the curriculum depends upon good basic literacy. It provides children with the ability to express themselves articulately and makes available to them the wealth of the written word. Heavy emphasis is therefore placed upon the key elements of speaking, listening, reading and writing.

How we cover the English curriculum, year by year

English lessons

Children have a daily English lesson, and in addition will have time to read by themselves.

Typically, an English lesson will include a short spelling session, some grammar work, and an independent task when children put what they have learnt into practice. Children may work with their teacher in guided reading groups or writing groups. Classes are not streamed for literacy lessons. All children are given appropriate targets to improve their work and are encouraged to take a pride in the quality of work they produce.


We want children to develop an enjoyment of reading, and encourage them to explore a wide range of fiction and non fiction texts. Even when they are fluent readers, we still encourage them to read out loud to someone at home and to engage in discussion about what they read.


Our goal is to teach children to be articulate writers who can use language creatively in a variety of styles, for different purposes and different audiences. We want children to enjoy the process of writing, and to feel proud of their written work. Above all, we want them to recognise that writing is a craft, and as such it has to be practised, refined and finally published to be of real value.

Click to find out more about:

How we develop a love of reading at HJS
How we develop children's fluency as writers


Our classrooms are typically abuzz with learning-focused conversation. Teachers model appropriate language and help children to engage in dicussion using precise vocabulary and grammar. Children present topic talks to their classmates every year, developing confidence in speaking articulately to an audience and answering questions. Each year, they have opportunities to perform to a larger audience in topikc-focused assemblies.


The English language is tricky when it comes to spelling. We have so many different ways of spelling the same sounds, and so many words which don't seem to fit any rules.

We teach spelling using a scheme called Read Write Inc. Our aim is for children to spell accurately in their independent writing, and for them to understand the origins and structures of words. In spelling lessons, we expand our vocabulary and acquire skills which help us to understand and compose more sophisticated texts.

The National Curriculum sets expectations for the end of Year 2 and Year 6. There are recommended lists of words which children are expected to be able to spell by the end of Year 4 and the end of Year 6. You can find these on the Homework pages in the Year Hubs in My School.

Expectations and assessment in English

The HJS Assessment Framework sets out our expectations for each year group in Reading, Writing, Maths and Science. Visit our Assessment and Reporting page for details.

Literacy resources for parents