At John Stainer literacy is at the heart of all of our teaching. The study of English and the acquisition of language are vital for all of our children to be able to communicate for all purposes and audiences throughout their education and beyond. We intend for all children to leave John Stainer having a rich and varied vocabulary as well as having a love of literature.


Reading for pleasure is a priority across the whole school and we aim to instill a love of books within all our children. Reading is prioritised and taught explicitly and through daily guided reading sessions from Y1 to Y6. Every child is expected to read every evening with an adult. High quality texts are used in reading teaching, guided reading lessons and within the curriculum to expose children to different authors, and genres, ambitious language and to build an understanding of the world beyond their immediate environment.

We use a range of reading schemes to support the teaching of reading. These include Red Rocket Reader, PM story and non-fiction books and All Aboard. We also use Catch –up reading as an intervention support.

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening is a high priority from the moment children starts school with us. Opportunities for developing this are woven across the curriculum. We use debate, discussion, performance and drama to encouraging high level thinking and engagement, as well as giving the children opportunities to hear speaking and listening for different purposes.

Phonics and spelling

Phonics is prioritised from Nursery upwards. In KS1, phonics is taught for four days a week for a period of 30 minutes. We use Letters and Sounds to drive teaching and learning and to ensure coverage. Targeted phonics interventions are used across the school to support rapid progress for those children who are working below national expectations. A robust tracking system is used to ensure no child is left behind. In Early Years and KS1, spelling is embedded with the phonics that the children are taught. In KS2 spelling teaching is both discreet and embedded within the literacy sessions. Additionally, the children learn spelling patterns and rules through high quality texts during their lessons.


At John Stainer, we use the National Curriculum as a basis for planning our lessons. Lessons are taught through the use of high quality core text and Pie Corbett teaching approaches. The teaching sequence begins with the immersion of the children within the text through the use of an engaging starting point, drama, speaking and listening activities, and gathering initial ideas. Grammar objectives are then taught and developed in the context of the text with the children then applying these skills by writing a variety of different text types. This includes through teacher modelling, supported and shared writing, and task-led independent writing. Children are given regular opportunities to write for different purposes and audiences across the curriculum, as well as developing their ability to write at length. Handwriting is taught daily for 15 minutes to ensure that high expectations in handwriting are developed and maintained from EYFS upwards. An emphasis placed on correct letter and number formation being developed and maintained in all writing.