St Paul's Catholic Primary School, V.A.

Journeying together in faith, hope and love.


At St. Paul’s Catholic Primary School we offer a high quality education that teaches our pupils to write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

The overarching aim for English in the current curriculum (2014), is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop a love of literature through widespread reading and writing for enjoyment.

We have developed a bespoke, well sequenced and progressive scheme of work for English at St Paul's. Carefully chosen, age-appropriate, whole class texts are used and a wide range of writing genres are delivered, in line with National Curriculum objectives; this ensures key knowledge is embedded. We work on a two-year planning cycle so that our English work can seamlessly be linked to other areas of the curriculum. We do not narrow our curriculum and strongly believe in breadth and balance. 

We work hard as a staff team to ensure our English lessons reflect the changing wider world. We adapt our scheme accordingly because we want our children to have the most up-to-date resources and learning opportunities available to them. Miss Dixon (English Subject Leader)    


We place a huge importance on spoken language at St Paul's. We want our pupils to be effective communicators, with an ability to articulate their opinions and views. Pupils are encouraged to ask questions to help them extend their understanding and knowledge. The link between spoken language and writing is an important one and we believe that being strong and effective communicators will support us in becoming resilient and confident writers. Pupils are encouraged to verbalise their ideas with their talk partners whilst writing. At St Paul's, we utilise on every opportunity to allow the children's oracy skills to grow. An example of this is the debating competition which Year 5 take part in each year. Not only does it support pupils to express and justify their own opinions, it also provides a platform for them to consider the opinions and feelings of others.   


As a school, we work closely with the company Northern Arts Factory who come in and run drama sessions for the children which are permeated with speaking and listening exercises. Children from Reception to Year 6 have all taken part in these sessions which are planned specifically to support the English text being taught in their year group. Click the link below for more information. 


Spelling and Phonics

In Reception, Key Stage 1 and, where appropriate, in lower Key Stage 2, pupils follow the Floppy Phonics systematic synthetic programme of phonics. This scheme enables children to access high quality resources which supports the teaching of phonics, whilst also enriching the children's vocabulary and language comprehension. Using the Floppy Phonics programme, our staff teach the letter/sound correspondences of the English alphabetic code explicitly and comprehensively for reading, spelling and handwriting. The order of which the sounds are introduced in this teaching sequences matches the order set out in 'Letters and Sounds'. 

Whole class phonics lessons are taught daily in Reception, Year 1 and  Year 2 with additional smaller group sessions used to support and consolidate sounds when needed. In the Spring and Summer terms of Year 2 and in Key Stage 2, teaching key spelling patterns and rules becomes the focus. From Year 2-Year 6, we follow the 'Spelling Shed' scheme which supports the explicit teaching of spelling rules and patterns. Whole class spelling lessons are timetabled throughout the week and children are given a weekly list of words which follow the taught spelling rules. Within class, children have opportunity to learn and practise the spellings using multi-sensory games and are encouraged to apply them in their writing and recognise them when reading. Children can also learn their spellings by playing on the interactive games on Spelling Shed at home. Every Friday in celebration assembly, the class with the most spelling points on Ed Shed wins a trophy and the child in each class with the most points that week receives a special sticker and certificate.

One of Year 1 readers using her phonics to help her read a brand new book!


In Reception the children are taught to print their handwriting focusing on fine motor skills. In Year 1 pre-cursive handwriting is taught before cursive handwriting is introduced in Year 2. Each year group allows pupils to practise their handwriting as often as is appropriate, which is at least weekly. Using cursive handwriting, we aim to improve presentation in all subjects across the school.

As a school we have adopted the Letter-join scheme to ensure we teach a systematic method of handwriting throughout school. We aim to produce work of a high standard, using consistent joins and good letter formation. For more information about the scheme, please click on the green icon below. 

We try to move the children onto pen as quickly as possible and reward consistent effort with a pen licence. By the end of Key Stage 2 our children have adapted the recommended style and are fluent in their own methods; we welcome this variety and individual flair for writing. Where children struggle, support is offered through addition intervention, adaptive technology and specialist resources. This includes: 'hand-huggers', different pen types and coloured exercise books. 

We recognise the difficulty left-handed children can have when learning to write and make allowances for hand smudges and some inconsistency. For support with left-handed early writing, please see:  

The lower case cursive letter formations we teach in school.


"A room without books is like a body without a soul"


 Reading is embedded throughout our curriculum at St. Paul's and we have a strong emphasis on using high quality texts in a cross-curricular manner to immerse the children in stories and books. We aim to promote and encourage a love of reading for all children throughout the school. There is strong evidence linking reading for pleasure and educational outcomes. We know that academic attainment is of vital importance, but the benefits of reading for pleasure go beyond this and stretch throughout a person's life.  The research finds that reading for pleasure can result in increased empathy, improved relationships with others, reductions in the symptoms of depression and dementia, and improved well-being.

At St Paul’s, we have a well stocked library, regularly updated with new releases, that is available for pupils and their families to use regularly, and a group of children help Mrs Walker to run the library at lunchtimes. In Year 6 children take part in the annual Leeds Book Awards. This involves reading and reviewing books and attending an awards ceremony. 'Leeds Little Free Library' have also installed one of their fantastic libraries in our Key Stage Two playground, which is available to all children and families to donate and take children's books. During World Book Day, we nurture our school's love of reading: this includes an 'Extreme Reading Challenge', a reading cafe for parents and a book swap. 

Whole class Reading lessons take place in each year group with additional smaller group sessions used in Reception and Year 1 to support the younger children's fluency and comprehension skills. Throughout school we use the Reading VIPERS approach to develop children's analytical reading skills. We embed Reading across the curriculum and use high-quality books within our non-core lessons. 

There is an expectation that every child reads at home for at least 15/20 minutes a day, initially with an adult, but increasingly independently in Upper Key Stage Two, as pupils complete the school reading scheme and become free readers. We have recently purchased a brand new reading scheme for St. Paul's. This scheme is full of a wide variety of exciting vocabulary and contains sounds which correlate to the Phonics sounds taught in class. These books include: Word Sparks, Story Sparks, Floppy Phonics Fiction, Chucklers and InFact. 

One of our wonderful Year 2 readers enjoying a chapter book!

World Book Day 2024

At St. Paul's we love World Book Day! Throughout March, we enjoyed lots of activities celebrating our love of reading. These included: Reading Cafes for parents, a visit to a local book shop for our Extreme Reader competition winners, a visit from the book fair and lots of opportunities to share wonderful books together. Please see below for pictures. 


'Writing floats on a sea of talk'

James Britton

We know that children draw on their experience of reading when developing their own writing. When children have explored a range of texts across genres, they form an understanding and appreciation of how language functions and how best to use this when writing themselves. To this end, we endeavour to choose high quality, engaging texts as a stimulus for writing, including both novels and picture books. We appreciate the benefits gained from allowing sufficient time for high quality discussions and conversations around writing and vocabulary as this aids the writing process. In addition to this, we also recognise the benefits of film and pictures as a stimulus for writing, so use websites such as the Literacy Shed and Pobble 365 to fire the children’s imaginations. Finally, drama, real life experiences and creative teaching methods all enhance English lessons for the children at St Paul’s and provide them with real audiences for their writing. Where possible, we try to incorporate other types of media to enhance their learning, using apps on the iPads.

Spelling, grammar and phonics are embedded in the teaching of writing, with staff planning opportunities to use newly learned grammar and punctuation, in context. So, while some aspects of grammar and punctuation are taught discretely, it is also fed into all lessons, and through marking and feedback. We want children to have a love and curiosity when it comes to vocabulary. Each class has a 'Word of the Week' which introduces challenging vocabulary in order to help broaden the children's writing experiences. 

We train our children from early in Key Stage One, to edit and improve their work. Following our marking policy, staff use a variety of methods such as whole class feedback and 'yellow boxing' to help support and advance the children's editing skills. 

Staff have benefitted from training, with both Philip Webb and Isabella Wallace, to provide staff with more tools to help to shape an exciting and creative English curriculum for our pupils. Writing is moderated regularly as a school and within our local family of schools. 

Writing is widely celebrated throughout school with a 'Writer of the Half Term' award in assembly; high quality writing on display within our classrooms and corridors; and opportunities for children to share their brilliant writing with a trip to Mr Bowker's office!

Performance Poetry

Year 4 have worked really hard on their performance poetry whilst learning about Grace Nichols.

World Book Day 2023

At St. Paul's we love World Book Day but for us, it isn't just about dressing up for the day. The focus is on our love of reading for pleasure and our enjoyment of books all year round - World Book Day is just an opportunity to celebrate this! 

Our celebrations this year have included: 

  • 'Aero-books'
  • Reading buddies with different year groups
  • Story time teacher swap
  • Masked reader
  • Extreme reading competition 
  • Book swap
  • Reading café for parents 
  • Book fair
  • Local library visits

Remembering the past

A speaking and listening home learning task from Year 3.