English at Holbeach Primary Academy

The English curriculum at Holbeach Primary Academy involves supporting and developing pupil's skills in Reading, Writing, Spelling and Phonics. The teaching of English occurs both in planned daily English and Guided Reading lessons as well as across all areas of the curriculum. The Foundation Stage Guidance and Curriculum 2014 are followed by staff in order to deliver objectives  that will support the skills pupils already have, as well as supporting them to achieve their next steps.  Alongside the staff, pupils are encouraged to know where they are in their learning and what their next steps are. There is an expectation on the part of teachers and children that learning is important and enjoyable. We believe and encourage that everyone can improve and achieve.


Reading is a key skill that supports many aspects of daily life as well as being something for pupils and staff to enjoy.

Reading begins at Holbeach Primary Academy in the Early Years setting with books being shared as part of English lessons and during daily story time sessions. The main skill that is developed during the first year at school is pupil's recognition and understanding of the letters and sounds we use in the English language. Letter and sound recognition develops into blending and reading words as well as identifying 'tricky' words which can not be sounded out. The love of books is promoted through the staff daily sharing books they enjoy and allowing the pupils to share their own books from home.

During Key Stage 1 the reading focus continues with the skill of word recognition supported by Phonics to develop fluent reading. As well as word recognition, comprehension skills become a key area for development. Pupils are encouraged to discuss what they have read in order to show their understanding of the text. This begins with discussions with an adult, then within a group and then the pupils begin to record their understanding through written comprehension questions. Pupil's receive daily Guided Reading lessons with both independent and supported tasks. Reading is also developed through other curriculum areas including research for topics and as a stimulus for dance in PE.

During Key Stage 2 comprehension skills continue alongside word recognition. At this point the word recognition is supported by pupil's knowledge of GPS and exploring the meaning of new words. Comprehension involves the development of higher order thinking skills and making links to own experiences as well as other texts. Pupil's continue to receive daily Guided Reading lesson during Key Stage 2 as well as reading opportunities across the curriculum.

Reading Diaries

When a pupil begins their first day at Holbeach Primary Academy they will receive a reading diary. This diary is for pupils, staff and parents to use as a communication tool as well as a reading record. Any reading that takes place at home or in school should be recorded in the diary. This includes any reading books, magazines, menus or signs.

In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 the recording is mainly completed by adults with some Year 2s beginning to record their own reading towards the end of the year. In Key Stage 2 pupils take more responsibility for their reading and therefore are more likely to record their own reading.

Class teachers will

  • read with pupils at least once a week through Guided Reading or one to one reading which will be recorded in the diary
  • monitor dairies through a message or signature weekly

Parents will

  • read with their child at least 3 times per week and record this in their diary.
  • each week the diary will be signed to show parents have read seen the entries made

If you are unsure of the types of comments to record in the diaries please see the suggestions in the document below.

Pupils will

  • Bring their diary and reading book to school every day
  • Take pride in their diary to keep it tidy
  • Record their own reading or encourage grown ups to record their reading


Writing is another key skill that supports many aspects of daily life. At Holbeach Primary Academy writing includes developing skills in sentence construction as well as the formation of pupil's writing.

Writing begins at Holbeach Primary Academy in the Early Years setting with mark making using a wide variety of tools including pencils, paint and chalks. Through this stage pupils establish their pencil grip as part of their fine motor development. This mark making and pencil grip leads into pupil's learning of how letters are formed within their English lessons and child initiated activities. Letter formation progresses alongside the pupils Phonic development which leads to word building and then sentence building.

During Key Stage 1 the writing is developed through daily English lessons which involve skills including grammar, punctuation and spelling. Pupils begin to recognise different groups of words including verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions. Recognition and understating of these word groups supports the development of sentences from simple to compound sentences. These are then used to support pupils Big Writing each fortnight. Writing opportunities are planned across the curriculum as applying the skills outside the daily English lesson are key. Handwriting progresses to include joining letters but with the formation of the letter remaining clear.

During Key Stage 2 pupils continue to receive daily English lessons to develop their writing skills and knowledge of the English language. To support the understanding of words and spelling rules, pupils begin to explore the origins of the words and their meaning. This in turn supports their use of prefixes and suffixes. Pupils continue to show their understanding through fortnightly Big Writing as well as across all areas of the curriculum. Handwriting is still a key part for pupils at this stage in their development with the introduction of using different tools for different purposes and beginning to write in pen.


At Holbeach Primary Academy the teaching of spelling begins within Early Years. During their time in the Foundation Stage and into Key Stage 1 spelling is strongly linked with the teaching of phonics. All pupils receive daily phonics teaching through both discrete phonics lessons and within their English lessons. Opportunities to apply their spelling and extend their skills are also planned into Guided Reading activities.

Early spelling is developed through recognition of the 40+ phonemes including digraphs, trigraphs and split digraphs. Pupils are taught the phonemes and then taught to apply these through word building including CVC, CVCC, CCVC before extending to longer words. Pupils are also taught to recognise the alternative pronunciation and alternative spelling of sounds.

Towards the end of Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2 pupils continue to apply their phonic skills but the introduction of spelling terms including root words, suffixes and prefixes begin to extend their spelling skills. The English language includes many rules to support spelling, however there are often exceptions to these rules and therefore pupils become more reliant on visual and kinaesthetic learning. Seeing key vocabulary and building the vocabulary through letter tiles or formation practice allows pupils the opportunities to  know what the word 'looks' like or 'feels' like.

To support pupils spelling skills weekly spellings are sent home on a Friday and tested in school the following Friday. Weekly spellings begin in Year 1 with 6 spellings which build to 10 across the year. Pupils are set spellings according to their phonic grouping or class focus.

Each year group has a spelling list set in accordance with the Curriculum 2014. These can be found below.


File icon: pdf key-words-for-year-2-children [pdf 54KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf word-list-y3-and-y4 [pdf 534KB] Click to download
File icon: pdf word-list-y5-and-y6 [pdf 10KB] Click to download

Support at home

In this section you will find resources and links that you may find useful to support your child(ren) at home with the different areas of English.

File icon: docx using-phonics-in-writing [docx 13KB] Click to download
File icon: doc reading-in-ks2 [doc 27KB] Click to download
File icon: doc reading-in-ks1 [doc 44KB] Click to download
File icon: doc phonics-at-hpa [doc 567KB] Click to download
File icon: doc learning-how-to-spell [doc 600KB] Click to download
File icon: doc learning-your-spellings-ideas [doc 230KB] Click to download
File icon: doc suggestions-for-reading-diary-comments [doc 1MB] Click to download

Academy Events

Scholastic book fairs

Over recent years the Academy has hosted Scholastic book fairs three times a year and these have been very successful. At HPA we feel that these initiatives give the pupils an opportunity to choose books that allow them to read for pleasure and help to keep their interest and engagement in reading at school. Your parental support at the book fairs helps to raise money to purchase new books for the school and the children's enjoyment. We continue to appreciate your support with these events.

Book People book fairs

this year the Academy are hosting another book fair from another book company. The Book People have a range of books for all ages and offer a range of prices.

The first Book People book fair will be held in December 2018.


Handwriting Awards 

Each week teachers have the opportunity to celebrate a pupil in their class who has shown consistent effort with their handwriting and presentation. This needs to be shown in all areas of the curriculum alongside their handwriting lessons. If a pupil is selected they are awarded an certificate during our Friday whole school assembly.  Once a pupil has obtained 3 handwriting certificates within a school year they receive a handwriting badge as a recognition of their achievement.