The Academy at St James doves
The Academy at St James logo

Tel: 01274 777095



“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss

Click on the icons below to find out about the St James way to teach early reading and handwriting.






English at The Academy at St James.
We are passionate about delivering high quality teaching and learning of English. We are committed to helping children develop the necessary skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively with the world at large, through spoken and written language. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum, and we promote and emphasise reading for pleasure by exposing our children to a rich variety of carefully chosen literature, both in daily whole class reading sessions, our English units and our class reading books.

Each English learning journey always begins with a high quality text to encourage and enthuse children to write for different purposes. Every year group follows the National Curriculum Expectations for grammar, punctuation and spelling. Each of these strands are woven into each unit of work, to ensure that children have excellent writing outcomes.

We endeavour to provide many creative opportunities for spoken language through oracy opportunities, drama and visual literacy. We expose children a language rich environment to develop vocabulary acquisition from an early age. In Early Years and Key Stage 1, daily phonics is taught systematically using Read, Write Inc. We have found parental involvement very successful when they take an active role in helping with their child’s learning.

English Intent at The Academy at St James

English Intent-

English Long Term Plan

Whole School English LTP 2021-22

We follow the Talk For Writing framework which engages the children in their writing by stimulating their imagination. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own version. Writing is taught through high quality texts, engaging stories and inspirational films, we ensure that all children have access to various genres (fiction, non-fiction, poetry) to develop the children’s skills, strategies and understanding. The teachers also make strong links to writing in other areas of the curriculum such as History & RE. These cross-curricular writing opportunities develop the children’s awareness of audience, purpose and effect, whilst also continuing to develop their writing skills in wider contexts. Writing assessments are carried out regularly and the children are given constructive feedback on their ‘next steps’ of learning. Every child has a personalised writing target which the children work towards achieving throughout the course of their unit of work.

Programme of Study – Writing (KS1 and KS2)

At The Academy at St James we follow the National Curriculum Programme of Study. This outlines the writing expectations for each Year Group.

Programme of Study – Writing – KS1 and KS2

Handwriting is taught throughout school where children write cursively-joining from Year 3 and pre-cursive from Early Years.

Spelling is taught through specific spelling sessions. Children are taught spelling patterns, rules and statutory word lists. All children have weekly spelling lists to learn at home and take part in spelling tests in school. Children are expected to know the statutory word lists for their specific year group. Children’s spelling results are monitored and rewards are given to pupils who consistently achieve well.

Grammar is taught both discreetly and as part of the English topic, where it fits. This helps the children to become fluent in a particular grammar skill, but also enables them to reason and apply it in a range of contexts. We do not follow a published scheme for grammar, but each individual member of staff plans & delivers a tailor made curriculum to suit their group’s needs using the National Curriculum expectations for their year group or children’s needs.

Progression of Writing Skills

Progression in writing

Reading of individual words & short sentences is taught through phonics. In each class there are daily Whole Class Reading sessions where staff use a range of books to develop pupil’s individual reading and comprehension skills. These books are specially chosen to engage and inspire the children, whilst also promoting a love of reading. Children are given the opportunity to read both fiction and non-fiction texts to develop their understanding of texts.

Throughout school each child has a home reading book from their colour banded book boxes, the class teacher will regularly assess which colour book each pupil needs to suit their stage of reading. These books provide the opportunity for the children to develop their reading skill at home and engage the parents in their child’s reading journey. We encourage reading at home by tracking and rewarding the children for their dedication and commitment to their reading.

We also have a newly refurbished library, which the children and parents have access to and can regularly take books home. Our library promotes and encourages reading for pleasure and engages the wider community in our school and reading.

Programme of Study – Reading (KS1 and KS2)

At The Academy at St James we follow the National Curriculum Programme of Study. This outlines the reading expectations for each Year Group.

Programme of Study- Reading – KS1 and KS2

Reading Spines

Each Year group has carefully created a Reading Spine which details the high-quality texts they will be using in each term. These are working documents and are updated regularly as to provide personalised learning opportunities for each year.

We are currently in Cycle B.

Nursery Reading Spine B

Reception Reading Spine B

Year 1 2 Reading Spine B

Year 3 4 Reading Spine B

Year 5 6 Reading Spine B

Diversity and Reading

At The Academy at St James we have developed a diversity spine which shows how we deliver PSHE core concepts throughout our teaching. We have carefully selected texts which promote diversity and equality. It is important that the texts the children read reflect themselves as well as widening their world view.

Cycle A:

Diversity Spine- Year 1&2- Cycle A

Diversity Spine- Year 3&4- Cycle A

Diversity Spine- Year 5&6- Cycle A

Cycle B:

Diversity Spine- Year 1&2- Cycle B

Diversity Spine- Year 3&4- Cycle B

Diversity Spine- Year 5&6- Cycle B

Progression of Reading Skills

reading progression doc-skills

Reading for Pleasure

At The Academy at St James we are working alongside our academy partners BDAT to promote and develop the love of Reading. We are organising Reading Events throughout the year in which parents and children can actively engage and develop their love of reading.

We have created a Reading Challenge for you and your children to complete at home.

Reading Challenge

Wanting to select a new book for your child but don’t know where to start? Then use these Recommended Reading Lists to find your child’s next favourite book!

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6

Helping your child read at home

Here at The Academy at St James we want to help in any way we can to support parents to read with their children. We have already run our first set of Reading Breakfasts, where parents could read with their children with the support of staff. These will be continuing throughout the year.

We have also produced a Parent Booklet with handy tips and strategies in to guide and support you as you read with your child.

The Academy at St James Parent Reading Booklet

Take a look at some of our photos showing what we have been up to so far:

Reading Breakfast and Author Visits

Little Free Library, World Book Day and Book Fair


The Academy at St James - Aspire, Achieve, Believe