Curriculum Intent for English

In English, we prioritise reading and writing to ensure that all pupils have the opportunities to maximise the development of their literacy, language and communication skills. We believe that fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects and our teachers develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as an integral aspect of the teaching of every subject. Through our English curriculum we aim to promote high standards in literacy and language to acquire a wide vocabulary, build their confidence and understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words effectively by applying their phonetic and spelling patterns and rules skills throughout their time at Holy Cross. Pupils will write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.

Children at our school are encouraged to develop their enjoyment and love of literature and recognise the importance of being a good reader and developing the habit of reading widely and often. We nurture a love for reading to support pupils in recognising the pleasure and importance of being a good reader and developing a habit of reading widely and often.

Pupils will be able to apply their skills to a range of complex texts and stories enabling pupils to discover new knowledge and vocabulary and understand more about what they learn. Pupils will be supported and challenged to know more and remember more enabling them to have developed a love of reading and writing to reach the end points of Key Stage 2. This will equip them to succeed in education and in adult life, and to make a positive contribution to society for the common good.



Our school has adopted Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing as a model to improve children’s writing abilities and skills.

Why Talk for Writing?

At Holy Cross, we help all our children develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and it is through the Talk for Writing approach that we achieve this. Through it’s multi-sensory and interactive teaching it enables children of all ages and abilities to learn to write a wide range of story/text types using various methods including:

  • listening to and learning texts and stories;
  • taking part in drama and role-play;
  • drawing and story mapping;
  • collecting words and language strategies;
  • building their working knowledge of grammar.

At Holy Cross, we are all very enthusiastic about this approach as it brings out the best in the children and the teachers (who have to write model texts for the children to use as the basis of their own writing) – we are all writers together! Writing becomes a joint adventure and the results are exciting!

What exactly is it?

Talk for Writing is an innovative approach to teaching writing developed by the literacy specialist and writer Pie Corbett. It uses high quality model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types which they then learn off by heart and scrutinise with a writer’s critical eye.

They learn the underlying structures and the process of planning using story and text maps. They also learn about the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings and how to use a range of sentence types to create different effects including suspense or adventure.


Talk for Writing has three key phases which work together to develop knowledge, confidence and independence in writing:

1. Imitation and immersion

We usually like to start our Talk for Writing units with a ‘wow’ starter which fires up the creativity and imagination of the children before they immerse themselves in the model text.

During this phase the children learn a model text using actions and story maps. The key to success for the children is that they internalise the text type through repetition and rehearsal. They explore the structure of the narrative and investigate the different characters, settings and events. They also begin to look closely at the language used and the effect this has on the reader. We call this process ‘read as a writer’. The classroom becomes a dynamic, interactive resource filled with word ideas, sentence types and language tools collected by the children to use in their stories later.

2. Innovation

During this phase the teacher and the children begin to change aspects of the model text using their own ideas. They explore the text using different characters, settings or events and new ideas for descriptive language whilst sticking closely to the underlying structure.

It is during this phase that the children work using their toolkits. The toolkits, based on the features and ingredients of the model text, remind children of the different strategies they could use in their stories and helps them to see the progress they are making.

3. Invention

During the invent week the children plan and write their own story based on the text type they have been learning. They experiment with the ideas and begin to explore their own style of writing using sentence types from the model text. They also have opportunities to edit and improve their work.

You can find out more about talk for writing by clicking here.

English Lessons At Holy Cross

Writing Progression Map

Text Types Coverage

Reception  Long Term Plan

Year 1 English Long Term Plan

Year 2 English Long Term Plan

Year 3 English Long Term Plan

Year 4 English Long Term Plan

Year 5 English Long Term Plan

Year 6 English Long Term Plan



At Holy Cross, we use the Nelson Handwriting Scheme throughout the school to support the children to develop a cursive style of handwriting.

You will find free resources and example of the handwriting font here.

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