Welcome to this page containing information about how the English curriculum is delivered at Old Buckenham Primary School.


Reading is always a key focus at Old Buckenham Primary School, it is taught from day one and is at the heart of our curriculum. We want to enable all of our children to not only become skilled and confident readers but to enjoy reading for pleasure.

We use Little Wandle, a systematic synthetic phonics programme, to teach early reading.  Phonic skills are essential for the decoding of and spelling of words. The children are taught to discriminate and produce the sounds in speech, to develop their knowledge of spelling patterns and how to apply grammar rules during daily, systematic and enjoyable sessions.  It is our aim that by the end of Key Stage 1 the children will have developed fluent word reading skills and have a good foundation in spelling and comprehension. Any child who is showing that they are falling behind with their word reading in year 2 and above will be assessed using the Little Wandle Rapid Catch up assessment tools and will then have specific and targetted intervention to fill the gaps and ensure that they can then reach their reading potential.

Comprehension skills are a huge aspect of reading and these skills are developed through one to one reading, whole class story sessions and short sessions planned by class teachers to meet the needs of their classes delivered five times each week. Adults read with all children on a regular basis to help them secure their word reading and comprehension skills.
During whole class reading sessions, pupils are given the opportunity to secure the core elements of the comprehension aspect of reading. At Old Buckenham Primary School and Nursery we teach comprehension skills through a whole class reading approach using the reading VIPERS as a starting point.
VIPERS stands for:
Sequence (KS1) or Summarise (KS2)

The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics, decoding, prosody and fluency. VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that children are asked and are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the types of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allow for targeted questions afterwards. We aim for our whole class reading lessons to be emersive and interesting for children. They are planned to foster a love of reading in addition to developing the key comprehension skills needed for children as they progress through their education. Each class has a sequence of different texts to read across the year, reading two different texts every half term. These texts are progressive as children move higher up the school and include a wide variety of genres to ensure we meet the reading requirements of the National Curriculum. In the documents at the bottom of the page you will find documents showing the sequence of whole class reading books taught from years 3 - 6 and examples of the lessons taught at each year.

All children take home reading books. Children here are encouraged to read at home daily and we ask adults to support their child’s learning by recording the reading that they do at home in the individual online reading record available through Boom Reader. We want our children to become proficient readers to enable them to access all areas of the curriculum and so that the children can develop a lifelong passion for reading. Children who read regularly at home can progress up our Reading Rainbows earning a new certificate for each colour they reach.

Throughout the year we promote reading widely for example by celebrating World Book Day and by sharing a range of exciting, high quality class reads. We also have three lovely reading volunteers who come into school and hear children from years 2 to 6 read, focussing on supporting children who are struggling with reading fluency.



Pupils at Old Buckenham Primary School  will be given creative and engaging contexts to write within, encouraging them to become confident, fluent writers. They will always write for a target audience with a purpose in mind. Our pupils will be given access to high quality texts to read and there will be a balance between teaching the features of specific genres and covering the technical aspects of writing. Our pupils will view mistakes as learning opportunities and use them to edit and improve their writing.

Our writing curriculum is underpinned by the National Curriculum. We encourage writing through all curriculum areas and use quality reading texts to model examples of good writing.  Writing is taught through a number of different strategies. We use a method called “Sentence Stacking” which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. This is based upon the research of Jane Considine through the medium of ‘The Write Stuff’.
This method also  allows pupils to improve their oracy and widen their vocabulary in every lesson, whilst deepening their understanding of writerly choices through the use of the shade’o’meter. Pupils love their writing lessons and can’t wait to show what they’ve learnt in their independent extended pieces at the end of each unit.   All our writing is taught through the ‘writing rainbow’ which provides a lens for the writer to focus through in order to ensure all writing is effective and engaging for the reader, whilst meeting the intended purpose. 

An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to three chunks:

  1. Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence
  2. Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques
  3. Enable section – the children write their sentence following the model and have the opportunity to 'deepen the moment' where they can explore the plot point further and demonstrate their own creative sentences using their previous learning

All of our classroom environments ensure we are celebrating the writing of all children. Each half term, each year group focuses on a different fiction and non-fiction genre and a poem in order to create opportunities for cultivating a rich vocabulary and both technical and compositional skills in writing, ensuring that all our children write for a range of different purposes and audiences. 

The Three Zones of Writing

The FANTASTICs (Ideas), The GRAMMARISTICs (Tools), and The BOOMTASTICs (Techniques) support children's learning, precision and writing.

The FANTASTICs system, which is also used in the teaching of reading, allows children to identify the nine elements that all text types are comprised of. When pupils are familiar with these nine elements, they are able to ensure that they are incorporated into their writing. The FANTASTICs help children to sharpen their understanding of their own and others’ writing by encouraging them to be observant and reflective.

The 9 GRAMMARISTICs cover national curriculum requirements, capturing the broad spectrum of key grammar knowledge. Discrete grammar lessons are also taught to ensure specific grammar knowledge is taught and revisited.

The BOOMTASTICs capture the ten powerful ways to add drama and poetic devices to writing. They help children structure their work, teaching them to showcase their writing voice, demonstrate originality and to take risks in a bid to capture the truth of a situation.



At Old Buckenham Primary School, we feel strongly about supporting children to be brave spellers. We understand the importance of children learning to spell correctly, but we also want to engage and inspire children with a love of words. This is why we have implemented the Jane Considine approach to spelling which puts the children's love of words at the heart of learning to spell. 

Lessons encourage children to look deeply at words, draw and build upon their knowledge of phonics from KS1 and make connections with spellings or letter patterns that they may already know.

Starting in Year 2 and into all our KS2 classes, the children will complete spellings on a two-week timetable. 

During Week 1 the children will have a spelling investigation to complete and will practice the spellings  of 6 focus words. The investigation is where the children explore proving or disproving a spelling hypothesis.

During Week 2, the children will have five 10-minute sessions that will work on children practising and applying spellings under time pressure to support their ability to spell more accurately in lessons and other real-life writing scenarios. 

This approach is about helping children make plausible spelling choices in their writing that make sense and, even if not correct, have phonetical reasoning at the heart of the letter choices being made.

Spelling Overviews









Little Wandle Letters and Sounds


How children learn to read

  • Phonics is the only route to decoding.
  • Learning to say the phonics sounds.
  • By blending phonic sounds to read words.
  • Increasing the child's fluency in reading sounds, words and books

At Old Buckenham Primary School, we believe that for all our readers to become fluent readers and writers, phonics must be taught through a systematic and structured phonics programme. 
We use Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised to plan and provide daily, engaging phonics lessons. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of combinations and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. 
Our phonics teaching starts in Reception and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonics strategies as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. 
At OBPS, we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lessons and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on the development of language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. Phonics at OBPS does not stop at the end of year 1. We continue to encourage children to use their phonic knowledge to read and spell words all the way through year 2 and Key Stage 2. Any children who are struggling to read have targetted intervention using Little Wandle Rapid Catch up and additional fluency support.

How do we teach phonics?
In Reception and Year 1, children follow the progression within Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. Phonics is taught daily and there is a review session on a Friday.  Phonics starts in Reception in Week 2 to ensure the children make a strong start. 
By the end of Reception, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 4. 
By the end of Year 1, children will have been taught up to the end of phase 5. 
Reception lessons start at 10 minutes, with daily additional oral blending, increasing to 30 minutes as soon as possible.  In Year 1, lessons are 30 minutes long.  In Year 2, phonics lessons are taught daily to children where appropriate - following the model of Little Wandle but plugging specific gaps identified through assessment. 

 Phonics is identifying sounds in spoken words, recognising the common spellings of each sound (phoneme), blending the sounds into words for reading and separating words into sounds for spelling.

How do we assess phonic knowledge?
At the end of each week in Reception and Year 1, there is a review session which recaps the learning. There are also whole review weeks (pre-planned and bespoke review weeks to address gaps identified by the class teacher's ongoing formative assessment). Children identified in Reception and Year 1 as in danger of falling behind are immediately identified and daily 'keep up' sessions are put in place - sessions follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. 
In Reception and Year 1, the children are assessed at the end of every half term using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised assessment tracker. 
The children in Year 1 sit the Phonics Screening Check in the summer term.
Children who do not pass the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1, will re-sit this in Year 2. 
Children who are in Year 2 - Year 6 and need 'catch up' sessions are assessed through teacher's ongoing formative assessment as well as half termly summative assessments

How can I support my child in Phonics?
Watch the following videos to help you with the pronunciation of the graphemes that you child will be learning at school. 

Please visit the following page for access to a range of resources for you to support your child with learning phonics:

There are a range of useful videos and information available for you to access. The correct pronunciation of the phoenemes is crucial.

Useful Documents








Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work across the curriculum. By the end of Key Stage 2, all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and eventually speedy, joined up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes. Our intention is to make handwriting a process that does not interfere with creative and mental  thinking.

Our aims:
To develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters, which leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing.
To establish and maintain high expectations for the presentation of written work.
For pupils to understand, by the end of Year 6, the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letterforms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.

All teaching staff are encouraged to model the cursive style in all their handwriting, whether on whiteboards, displays or in pupils’ books. Handwriting is a cross-curricular task and will be taken into consideration during all lessons. Formal teaching of handwriting will be carried out regularly and systematically to ensure Key Stage targets are met.

We use Letterjoin to support with the teaching of handwriting. Every pupil has access to Letterjoin from home. Please see below for useful resources to support including a presentation from our recent Handwriting workshop.


Speaking and Listening

Having good communication skills are an important life skill and enable the children to better access all areas of the curriculum.  Speaking and listening skills are taught and integrated into our English lessons where speaking frames are used, when necessary, to help children formulate appropriate and well-structured verbal responses as well as ‘good’ listening skills being referred to and encouraged within lessons. Drama is used across the curriculum to support and encourage the speaking and listening skills our pupils are taught.

This document lists the progression of reading skills taught throughout the school: Reading progression of skills

Speaking and Listening progression of skills

Spelling Bee

Spelling Bee

As part of our work to promote high standards of spelling throughout the school, we will be introducing the Old Buckenham Primary School Spelling Bee, which will take place over the last week of each half-term. This will be introduced to children in class assembly this Thursday. We feel that this is a motivating and fun way to celebrate the achievement of our children.

The Spelling Bee competition is becoming more popular in the UK and as we celebrate our children’s sporting achievements, we are looking for other ways to acknowledge our children’s successes. Our Spelling Bee will take place from Year 1 to Year 6.

How does it work?
Each year group will be given the list of common exception words recommended for children to read and spell for their age. Common exception words are words in which the English spelling code work in an unusual or uncommon way. They are not words for which phonics 'doesn't work', but they may be exceptions to spelling rules, or words which use a particular combination of letters to represent sound patterns in a rare or unique way.

Children in Year 1 and Year 2 will have a new list each year.
Each class teacher to choose 10 words from the list at random for children to write. Anyone who gets all ten words correctly spelt will move to round two. This is the oral stage where children will be asked to spell aloud 10 random words from their spelling list. Anyone who gets 10/10 will move to the semi-finals.

The Semi-finals is a knockout round. This is continued until there is one person identified who is the spelling bee winner for their class.

Children in Year 3 to Year 6 will have one list over two years.

Each class teacher to choose 10 words from the list at random for children to write. Anyone who gets all ten words correctly spelt will move to round two. This is the oral stage where children will be asked to spell aloud 10 random words from their spelling list. Anyone who gets 10/10 will move to the semi-finals.
The Semi-finals is a knockout round. This is continued until there is one person identified who is identified to represent their class in the final against their partner class (Year 3 v Year 4, Year 5 v Year 6).


Once a class winner has been found they will challenge their partner class held in the style of knockout resulting in a year group winner. We encourage parents and carers to support the children with practising their words in preparation for the Spelling Bee, which will take place during the last week of this half-term.
If you have any questions please speak to your child’s class teacher. 

We will repeat this experience every half term.

Please click on the link below to access the spellngs that your child will be tested on as part of the Spelling Bee:

Year 1 Common Exception Words

Year 2 Common Exception Words

Y3 & Y4 Common Exception Words

Y5 & Y6 Common Exception Words

Page Downloads Date  
HomeGuide 11th Oct 2023 Download
Letter joinHandwritingWorkshop Oct 2023 11th Oct 2023 Download
Progression of skills in Handwriting 11th Oct 2023 Download
Left Handed Guidance 11th Oct 2023 Download
Dyslexia Guidance 11th Oct 2023 Download
Writing Progression of Skills 2023-24 21st Jan 2024 Download
Year 3 whole class reading Spring 1 Martin Luther King 02nd Feb 2024 Download
Year 4 Spring 1 whole class reading The Magic of Myths 02nd Feb 2024 Download
Year 5 whole class reading Spring 1 Great expectations 02nd Feb 2024 Download
Year 6 whole class reading Spring 1 Extracts from Zlatas Diary 02nd Feb 2024 Download
Whole class reading books 02nd Feb 2024 Download
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