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At the Pield Heath House School, the curriculum for English is central to students’ literacy development, attainment and progress.

 The English curriculum is designed to give students a broad and balanced experience of language and literature, ensuring that their learning experience is relevant and engaging. It takes account of the differing learning needs and experiences of our students and provides an education appropriate to individual students’ circumstances, aiming to foster positive attitudes to learning that lead to success and achievement 

In addition to the taught curriculum extensive input is made by the on-site Speech and Language Department  Students’ development in terms of their ability to communicate- whether through speech, writing or non-verbal gesture- is crucial to their engagement with and understanding of the world around them.Students are provided with opportunities to express themselves using a range of augmentative communication tools such as PECs, Proloqo or Signalong.

Key Stage 2

At KS2 English is taught daily on a four-year cycle over the key stage, with one lesson per week of explicit phonics and grammar at the level of individual students. Topics include Fairy Tales, Writing for a Purpose, Books by the Same Author, Stories from Other Lands and Rhyming. 

A multi-sensory approach is taken to early reading and writing skills, including sequencing, phonics, developing  pencil grip, pencil control and handwriting, communicating using the student's preferred communication medium, reading for pleasure, decoding and understanding written and symbol text.

Where relevant, the Oxford Reading Tree scheme is introduced. Reading is tailored to each students individual ability and interests and encourages functional communication, functional reading and the development of emerging literacy skills, at the same time enhancing comprehension skills.    


Key Stage 3

English at KS3 is taught in the formal curriculum on a three-year cycle with four lessons per week. Topics include Shakespeare, gothic texts, poetry, myths and legends, classic authors, and writing to inform and persuade. Students are encouraged to further develop their abilities and strategies to understand written text (both fiction/nonfiction/environmental text). The curriculum builds upon the skills developed in Key Stage 2. Students further develop their decoding and comprehension skills using the Oxford Reading Tree and individualised reading program as appropriate. Every lesson has an element of phonics/spelling, handwriting and speaking and listening.



Key Stage 4:

In key stage 4 English is taught on a two-year cycle. Classes have four lessons each week. Topics include classic authors, writing for different purposes, Shakespeare, newspapers and scary stories. Students further develop literacy skills, so they can become as independent and enthusiastic readers as possible, They are supported to understand and respond to a wide range of books, media and texts and find out information from books, media etc. in order to answer questions.

Some classes follow a more life skills-based scheme of work where they practice their grammar, punctuation, comprehension skills as well as handwriting and letter formation and prepare for NCFE functional skills. For students who communicate through symbols, pictures and photos, the act of communication involves reading. Students have to scan and select items in their books or on their boards or using Proloquo.



  • Pre-writing skills will be developed through emphasis on pattern work using a range of tools and working with different media.
  • From the earliest stage emphasis will be placed on helping students to hold their pencils correctly and on developing correct posture. Use of sloping desk surfaces and other specialist equipment may be made  
  • Opportunities for emergent writing and letter formation are incorporated into all lessons across the curriculum.
  • Where suggested by an O.T. the use of Handwriting without tears.
  • Students with particular difficulties will be assessed by the OT and may be encouraged to use a word processor where appropriate. 
  • The development of a legible script, possibly using upper case, and a signature, will continue especially for the purpose of filling forms in adulthood.
  • Students who are able to, will be encouraged to use word books, word lists and dictionaries to aid independent work.


  • Please click on the link below for further information, tips and ideas to help children practice their reading.