Southminster 8634


At Southminster C of E Primary School, we believe English underpins all learning in every curriculum area.  It is the basis through which children access and enjoy a wide curriculum. We strongly believe English is key to empowering independence and is a skill that is essential to everyday living.   Reading and writing are necessary skills to access all areas of the curriculum and allow children to fulfil and achieve their full potential in all subjects.

We follow the National Curriculum (2014), as set out by the Department of Education in order to plan our English lessons.  Every teacher uses the National Curriculum (2014) to create yearly and termly curriculum and topic overviews. Lessons are then planned to suit children's needs and to enhance their understanding and knowledge in each key area of English.  A full copy of our English policy can be found on our policies page.


Phonics and Spelling at Southminster C of E Primary School

We believe one of the most fundamental ways children learn to read and spell accurately is through the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics.

Our pupils are taught phonics through the guidelines set out in the 2014 National Curriculum.  This begins in Reception and is assisted by the multi-sensory approach of Fast Track Phonics which teaches the children rhymes to remember different phonic sounds.

Children in KS1 will also learn spelling patterns and high frequency words alongside phonics as set out in the National Curriculum.

Phonics and spelling sessions are delivered on a daily basis and are differentiated to meet the needs of each individual child.  In Reception and Year 1, children work alongside others of a similar ability for phonic sessions.  In Years 2-6, spelling is taught as part of the English session.  Phonics and spelling is a skill that is revisited in all areas of the curriculum and one the school places great importance on.


Reading at Southminster C of E Primary School

There is a school-wide aim to inspire a genuine, lifelong love of reading.

We encourage our children to read for pleasure and knowledge.  We aim to model the importance of reading and the idea that being a good reader will allow everyone to access more learning opportunities.

Children at Southminster we learn to read through a combination of:

  • Synthetic phonics, using these to blend and segment words.
  • Recognising high frequency words by sight
  • Using pictures, contextual and sense clues.

Through developing all of these skills, children will become fluent, independent readers who make sense of what they have read.


What reading scheme do we follow?

At Southminster we follow the Collins Big Cat Reading scheme.  Books are arranged in different coloured bands based upon the Collins Big Cat system.  Occasionally a child may bring home a book from a different scheme but these have all been levelled to the equivalent of the Big Cat scheme.  Children will move up the colours at their own pace as advised by the class teacher until they reach White Level. Beyond this children will become a free reader and may choose from either the classroom or school library.  A copy of how the colour bands progress and where you can expect your child to be reading is below.

How the Big Cat reading scheme colours progress


How can you be involved?

It is so important that children carry on embedding their reading skills with you at home.  We ask that all children in KS1 spend at least 5 minutes a night reading at home and in KS2 spend at least 10 minutes.  Reading record books are provided for all children in school. These are a great way for parents and teachers to liaise about a child's reading - changes to levels, targets that have been met, new words learnt.  Teachers are interested in anything your child does at home so please let us know!

Reading with your child at home has so many benefits - no matter how old they are.

Writing at Southminster

At Southminster we believe writing is an essential skill not only for further learning but in later life.  We aim to ensure all children reach their full potential in writing, enabling them to become confident, fluent and imaginative writers.

At Southminster writing is taught in many different ways from the moment a child begins in Reception.  Teachers follow the 2014 National Curriculum in order to plan exciting and engaging English lessons where the skill of writing is specifically taught.  This happens every day and time to rehearse writing skills is provided in other areas of the curriculum.  The children are taught in units, meaning they will look at a particular genre of writing i.e. narrative (story writing) over a period of 2-3 weeks.  This enables children to fully immerse themselves in the techniques needed for each type of writing.  During this time the children will be given several opportunities to write in the given style.

Ways to promote writing in the home could involve:

  • Writing shopping lists together
  • Writing diaries during the holidays
  • Creating a 'family' story
  • Reading together - Good readers help make good writers

Contact Us

Southminster Church of England Primary School
Burnham Road, Southminster, Essex, CM0 7ES

T: 01621 772732 • E:

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