Birkbeck Primary School


We believe that speaking, listening, reading and writing are an essential part of all activities in the curriculum.  We ensure that children will experience a wide range of creative and inspiring activities to develop these skills through independent and team work.  We want all children to develop a love of reading, read regularly and have the ability to write confidently and fluently. English is taught using the CLPE's Power of Reading . We always use high quality texts to engage children in their English learning.

We follow the Department for Education's National Curriculum programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2, details of which are published on the DfE's website. The National Curriculum for English aims to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. It aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • 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.

What underpins English success?

Quality first teaching, high expectations for all and formative assessment underpin all English teaching across the school. Children are provided with activities that sufficiently engage and challenge them. In lesson feedback ensures that children are challenged or supported to maximise their learning. Children are continually given the opportunity to reflect on their learning through discussion, planning, editing and evaluating. 


Children are taught to read fluently, understand both fiction and non-fiction and will be encouraged to read for pleasure. We provide library facilities and set expectations for reading at home. 

In Reception and Key Stage 1, phonics and reading are taught through Read Write Inc. with small groups of children. Please see our phonics page for more detail.

During Reception and Key Stage 1 all children read at least weekly to a member of our educational support staff team. In Key Stage 2, children have opportunities for the independent reading of a variety of texts, small group work with the class teacher to boost reading comprehension skills and time to practise these comprehension skills independently. The mnemonic VIPERS (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieve and summary) is used in Key Stage 2 in order to teach children the key reading skills which prepares them for secondary education.