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Gilmour Infant School

Learning Together, Growing Together




'Reading Together, Learning Together'

English Rationale

English is the language of learning in every curriculum subject.  English allows children to learn independently and is therefore empowering.  At Gilmour Infant School the teaching of English  is enjoyable, motivating and challenging.  We teach basic skills and provide a rich, meaningful and engaging learning environment.  We strive to inspire a love and appreciation of English and ensure that every child becomes a competent reader and writer.  



At Gilmour Infant School it is our intent to provide children with a board, balanced and challenging English curriculum.  Children will embark on an exciting journey that supports and develops their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

The children will become confident speakers who initiate and engage in discussions with others.  We will equip children with the necessary skills required to become capable and confident readers, thus providing a lifelong love of reading and literature.  By immersing the children in a rich variety of texts we will inspire their imagination.  Children will develop an extensive vocabulary and their use of grammar that will inspire them to write clearly and accurately for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.  By developing children’s reading and writing we aim to prepare them for lifelong learning. 



These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, comprehension, writing, speaking and listening and grammar. We follow Liverpool School Improvement English Plans to teach a fully inclusive English Curriculum that follows the cycle of immerse, teach, plan and review. Pupils are immersed into a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and through engaging lessons they are equipped with the skills to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. 



In addition to daily English lessons, children excel in early reading through the teaching of phonics.  Phonics and spelling rules are taught systematically throughout Early Years and Key Stage One. At Gilmour Infant School we use Letters and Sounds to plan and teach phonics.  To ensure all children can access and enjoy these daily lessons we offer a multi – sensory approach to the teaching of phonics in EYFS.  We supplement Letters and Sounds planning with Jolly Phonics songs and actions.  Through a four part lesson children are immersed into a variety of activities and practical games to learn new sounds, practise pre-cursive letter formation and to build up a bank of tricky words.   In EYFS through continuous provision children are encouraged to actively practise applying their phonic knowledge during the school day.  As children continue their phonics journey into Key Stage One, lessons are planned using the Liverpool Phonics Plans (based on Letter and Sounds and the statutory National Curriculum spelling requirements for Key Stage 1). Appendix 1.

The majority of pupils from Reception to Year 2 are taught at age related expectations, some children are taught in a smaller group and receive additional support to ensure they reach their full potential.  In EYFS children are grouped according to the stage of Letters and Sounds which they currently need to learn. These groups are fluid and flexible according to children's progress and needs.  Children's progress is tracked each half term and lessons are differentiated to meet the needs of all learners.  In addition to daily phonic lessons small groups of children in EYFS and Key Stage One also access phonic interventions.  These bespoke interventions provide opportunities for children to revisit previously taught phonemes, reinforce class teaching and to practise applying phonic knowledge in context. 


Guided and Shared Reading

Reading is taught through shared and guided reading, children enjoy a wealth of age related texts that motivate and inspire them to read. Through discrete daily guided reading sessions children are given access to age-related texts that are carefully matched to their reading ability. Children work in small groups and are encouraged to use a range of skills in these lessons, summarising texts, making predictions, investigating new and ambitious vocabulary, and to be inquisitive asking and answering questions.


Individual Reading

All children are provided with a school reading book that is matched to their reading ability, children are encouraged to read frequently at home.  Oxford Reading Tree books are colour banded to match children’s phonic level and comprehension skills.  Children also have access to a personalised library of reading books using the online reading scheme Bug Club.   Where children are reading below the expected level for their age reading is also taught through targeted interventions led by Learning Support Assistants such as daily individual reading and Early Literacy Support.


Class Reading

Children are read aloud to in class on a daily basis.  We aim to develop children’s English skills and inspire them to develop a love of reading and a knowledge of a variety of authors.  The texts are chosen by the children and story time is inspiring and is hugely exciting for everyone. 


Gilmour School and Class Library

Throughout the school children are encouraged to choose books independently.  Each classroom has its own designated and inviting reading area which includes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, some of which are linked to current class topics.  Each week every class visits the school library to choose a book that they take home to enjoy with their families. 


Reading for Pleasure

Our aim is to develop a love of reading and children that read for enjoyment. Reading for pleasure is promoted in a variety of ways, in school and with families and the wider community. Throughout the school week children are encouraged to ‘Drop everything and Read’ this time gives children the opportunity to enjoy a book of their choice and promotes health and well-being. 

All children and adults are encouraged to bring a book to school once a week to join in with the after school ‘Book Swap’. 

Each class has elected two Reading Ambassadors that meet regularly with the School Council to discuss ways in which we can further promote reading for pleasure. 

We encourage reading fairs with visiting publishers and we are actively fundraising to fund future author visits to school.

We work with outside communities such as ‘Garston Children’s Centre’ to promote a love of reading at home and in school.  Providing workshops for children and their families such as ‘Bringing Books Alive’.

Each half term ‘Learning Together’ homework sheets include recommended reads for children and families to enjoy.

EYFS parents are invited into school each half term to share their favourite book with small groups of children.



At Gilmour Infant School we use both formative and summative assessments to inform medium term and weekly planning.  Assessments are also used at half termly Pupil Progress meetings.  Target children are identified and intervention planned and implemented.  Assessment data is submitted termly and achievement and progress of groups of learners is analysed.  Lesson observations, book scrutinies, learning walks and pupil/parent/staff voice are all used to monitor the teaching and learning of English across the school. 

Published data shows that the number of children working at or above the expected level at Gilmour Infant School is above National and Local averages in Reading and Writing.  Children working above the expected level for Reading and Writing are significantly above the National average.  Year 1 Phonic data shows an upward trend for the third year and continues to be above National and Local averages.   

Covid Recovery Curriculum September 2020-21

Find below, an audit of English skills and knowledge covered 2019-20, up to the Coronavirus Lockdown period (March – July 2020). This will inform future planning, documented in the revised Recovery Curriculum Map for English. We will teach them this year, either as an additional unit or by revisiting and enhancing the skills as part of the planned curriculum.


Phonics Overview

Spelling Overview