At St James Primary, we are determined to provide children with a strong foundation of English skills that will allow them to be confident learners across the full breadth of the curriculum. English lessons develop the skills for speaking and listening, reading and writing. We use high quality texts as the starting point and stimulus for our writing lessons to ensure children are engaged and motivated and high expectations are set for the standard of writing produced in English lessons and across the curriculum. Text choices are made carefully and mapped out to ensure children are exposed to a range of genres and text types, that there is a diverse selection of both authors and characters and that classic fiction and poetry are included across the school.

Reading is at the core of learning. The skill through which we learn new information, experience places far from home, gain insight into situations unlike our own and venture into worlds beyond our wildest imagination. At St James, we aim to develop the skills necessary for children to confidently and enthusiastically pick up books for both learning and pleasure. We do this through a rigorous, systematic approach to the teaching of sound knowledge and the skills to decode, and consistent and regular teaching of the variety of skills required for the comprehension of texts, from the simple, decodable early readers our younger children are provided with, through to the rich, complex, sophisticated texts we are preparing our children to read by the end of their time with us and into the future.

The cornerstone of our literacy strategy is phonics, taught through the programme developed by Read Write Inc.  This intensive, progressive programme is recognised as having a huge impact on standards and achievement.

Across Foundation stage and Key Stage 1, the children learn phonics in small groups taken by teachers and teaching assistants who have received special training.  Children learn at their own pace and are regularly assessed to enable them to move forward appropriately. 

The introduction of RML (Ruth Miskin Learning) has had a demonstrable effect on standards of reading and writing throughout the school and is strongly backed by staff, governors and parents.  In addition to core literacy work with a daily focus on writing, handwriting and spelling, we encourage high standards of written work across all subject areas.