Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School

Live, Love, Learn. Together we will soar to new heights

Brunswick Street, St. Helens, Merseyside WA9 2JE

01744 678670




At Holy Spirit we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have a rigorous and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:

● read easily, fluently and with good understanding
● develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
● acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
● appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
● write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
● use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
● are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in literacy; we believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.


Early reading is supported through the Letters and sounds programme through the rigorous teaching of phonics sessions and regular reading activities. Regular CPD ensures that staff are equipped to teach with the expertise and skills required to promote excellent progress, as well as a love of reading. In KS2, they develop deeper reading skills in line with the Reading Scheme, guided reading sessions, Lexia and Reading Plus. Each class’s timetable is organised to enable weekly access to the school library, with an up to date selection of books to provide quality reading materials for all children to promote reading for enjoyment. In each classroom there is a reading area that is welcoming and encourages the children to access books and develop the love of reading.  We welcome authors into the school and also lots of performances linked to books and stories.  We ensure that we celebrate world book day every year and offer lots of opportunities to introduce new books and stories to the children. 

When planning English lessons, teachers follow a set process throughout the school.  This follows the process of a ‘hook’ into the book, ‘gather’, ‘plan’, ‘draft’, ‘edit and revise’ and a final ‘Publish’ which is their polished piece.  Teaching blocks focus on fiction, non-fiction or poetry, in line with the 2014 National Curriculum and comprehension, grammar and writing are embedded in lessons. Lessons sequence themselves to build progressively towards an extended piece of writing. Handwriting is also taught within English lessons, and outcomes are recorded in literacy books to promote a high level of pride and presentation across all written outcomes.

To enrich the English curriculum, the school enjoy visits and workshops to the local library, projects involving the library visiting the school. 

We also engage in a number of workshops with other agencies to help develop our writing skills. Children also take part in poetry performances and creative writing competitions, which are celebrated in whole school assemblies.  Every week we celebrate a writer of the week and a reader of the week.

Assessment for Learning is embedded in English  lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individualised approach to improving their work.

The organisation of the English curriculum, has realised a community of enthusiastic readers and writers who enjoy showcasing their developing literacy knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Outcomes of work in both English and topic books evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross curricular writing opportunities. These enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose.



Foundation Stage, Year 1 and Year 2 receive daily phonics sessions that are delivered to small groups.  These groups are supported by teachers and teaching assistants.  The children's progress is regularly reviewed and the groups are adjusted accordingly.  Phonics is taught in the Foundation Stage. This will be rolled out to Y1 and Y2 over the following year. 

What is Letters and Sounds?

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practioners and Teachers. 



Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One(Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segent longer words with adjacet consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phase Five(Throughout Year 1)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.

Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond)

Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


Parental help

If you want to help your child to recognise letters and sounds click on the websites below:






~ Letters and Sounds Overview ~

Reading Overview

We use a systematic approach to support our pupils to get them reading quickly. Click on the link below to access some free parent resources to help you to help your child. 

We currently use Oxford  Reading Tree, Treetops and Project X to promote home reading.  Throughout guided reading, we use a number of different resources that will engage and challenge the children.


Make sure you have your volume on as this link helps you to listen to each sound the letters make and how they blend together. 


The links below show an overview for reading with regards to the End of Year Expectations.

Reading Year 1

Reading Year 2

Reading Year 3

Reading Year 4

Reading Year 5

Reading Year 6




We have some amazing reading areas in our classrooms! We are really trying hard to promote reading in our school and we are reading lots and lots! Have a look at our reading areas below.



Reading for pleasure... Reading for pleasure...

Our library has had a big revamp and now has an amazing circus theme.  Step into the big top and get your nose stuck into a book!



Home Reading

 It is  really important that we read every night!  We have just purchased some additional home reading books so that we can boost reading in our school and engage our amazing reading talents!

Make sure you are trying to complete that reading rainbow too for your special certificates and you never know what may be in store if you complete the rainbow!




World Book Day 2019

Take a look at all the fun we had on World Book Day!  We used the fabulous book The Day The Crayons Quit as a focus for our World Book Day!  What a colourful school we had. The children looked amazing dressed in lots of colours and thoroughly enjoyed the book. Look at our fabulous pictures.



Writing at Holy Spirit

We use different stimuli to create beautiful writing from Reception to Year 6. Our Writing display shows progression through the school. Our most recent writing focus was the beautiful book by the Fan Brothers, 'Ocean Meets Sky'. 

Our writing process helps our children become proficient writers who can self-evaluate and edit their work. We promote creative writing in conjunction with other writing genres. The process of creating confident writers is described below. 

We are very proud of our writing at Holy Spirit. We use an author's approach to writing in our school from Early Years through to Year 6. 

Gather It!

Firstly, we gather lots of information and details about our writing focus. We aim to immerse the children in the writing topic to fuel their enthusiasm and really inspire them into creative thinking!

Plan It!

Next, we are teaching our children to plan their writing in a methodical way, ensuring they know what is expected of them at all times. This planning helps them to think carefully about what they want to write and how they want to write it!

Write It!

Now is the time to write our first draft. We are teaching our children the importance of drafting their writing just like real authors do. This first draft shows what the children have gathered and planned. We encourage our children that its acceptable to make mistakes and use these to make their writing even better.

Edit It!

This is the part of our writing process where we are teaching the children to read through their writing, find any mistakes, edit and change their writing and make improvements to their first drafts.

Perfect Piece! 

Our children are now ready to write their perfect piece. We are very proud of the writing that our children can produce.



Every class in the school has got a very special display that showcases 'The writer of the week'.  Each class has got a frame and a spotlight so that we can see and celebrate the amazing writing that is going on in each class.  Look at our different displays throughout the school.

How we assess our children in Writing

From Early Years to Year 6 we assess our children's writing using the frameworks set out by the Department For Education.

 Year 2 Interim Framework

Year 3 Interim Framework

Year 4 Interim Framework

Year 5 Interim Framework

Year 6 Interim Framework


The documents below show the overview plans for English for the different Year groups.

Year 1 English Overview

Year 2 English Overview

Year 3 and 4 English Overview.

Year 5 and 6 English Overview

English Glossary of Terms


Key Stage 1 Grammar Glossary

 KS1 Glossary Of Grammatical Terms.pdfDownload
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Key Stage 2 Grammar Glossary

 KS 2 Grammar Glossary.pdfDownload
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Here at Holy Spirit we encourage creative writing through our stimulating curriculum. Events to fuel the imagination are used as a 'hook' to engage our children's creative minds. Here are some examples of writing stimuli. We look forward to creating some more fabulous writing experiences over the coming year.

Dinosaur Visit Inspires super writers!

We has a prehistoric visitor to our school which inspired some fabulous writing from all year groups. A dinosaur egg appeared in the school's gazebo, prompting lots of questions about its origins. A hige T-Rex then came out of the school hall togreet the children. Wow! We were all amazed!

The Pied Piper - Manchester Actors

We were treated to an excellent performance of the Pied Piper by the Manchester Actors. The children then used this as a writing stimulus and produced some excellent writing. Our reception children loved it too!

Grammar and Spelling

Spelling and Grammar skills are a huge focus for our children's writing. We have introduced a progressive system of spellings which are to be practices at home for a weekly spelling test. These spelling focuses will be teaching spelling rules. Grammar is also a huge focus for our children's writing skills and as such we have introduced grammar homework and weekly Spag.com sessions to help our children with their understanding of grammar and how to use it effectively in their writing. 


We encourage all of our children to use cursive handwriting in all subjects. We award our children with a pen and a pen licence when they have shown us that they can write neatly, fluently and in a cursive style. We teach handwriting skills using a continuous cursive scheme from Early Years through to Year 6. The national expectation for cursive handwriting is high and as such we aim for our children to achieve a pen licence before they reach Year 6. You can help by encouraging your child to practice their handwriting skils at home. Below is an animation to show how we form our letters on the line.