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English is at the heart of the education of pupils at Barlby. It is both an important subject in its own right and the medium for accessing the whole curriculum. The three strands of English speaking & listening, reading, and writing are all inextricably linked. For example, spoken vocabulary can be expanded upon through reading high quality texts, writing benefits from being spoken first and analysing texts as a model. We plan activities and units of work that fulfil the requirements of the National curriculum and are engaging and motivating for pupils from nursery to year six.

Many of our children learn English as an additional language and we find that this enhances their understanding of English so that by the time they leave us they are achieving at least as well as their first language English-speaking peers.

Speaking and listening

Developing speaking and listening skills is essential both in school and for wider life. We have a focus on expanding children’s vocabulary and developing the structure of spoken English. We model the use of Standard English and expect pupil’s to start to recognise when it is appropriate to use different forms of speech.

Pupils use speaking and listening to solve problems, speculate, share ideas, make decisions and reflect on what is important. Social relations depend on talk, and pupils' confidence and attitudes to learning are affected by friendships and positive spoken interactions.


At Barlby Primary School our aim is to support children along their way to becoming lifelong readers.

We want our pupils to LOVE reading and we have a big focus on this in school: in our classrooms with regular story times and well stocked book areas, in assemblies sharing picture books, through our little libraries that provide free books to keep and in many other ways.

Learning to read takes time. Decoding the text and being able to read the words on the page is only the first step. Children need time to understand what they are reading and to enjoy books. Given the time to learn at their pace, children will develop resilience as readers and develop the lifelong skills they need to make them confident in their reading abilities. Research shows that reading is the most important home learning that you can do to support your child’s achievement at school.

You can help your child become a confident reader too – see the information and advice below.


It is our aim that all pupils leave us able to write clearly, accurately and coherently, with the ability to adapt their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Writing is taught through text-based units of work and also applied in topic lessons. Grammar, punctuation and other specific language elements are taught within the context of both reading and writing. As they become confident writers children are expected to respond to feedback and to edit and improve their writing


At Barlby, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.

As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Barlby, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.

Children are assessed regularly within each of the phases, ensuring they are revisiting and reviewing prior sounds and learning new sounds at a pace that suits them. In addition to our half-termly phonics assessments, there is a national Phonics check for Year 1 in the Summer term. All children will be assessed on their ability to decode 40 real words and pseudo words. Children who may not reach the required pass mark are able to repeat the phonics check in Year 2 after deep consolidation and extra support if necessary.

At Barlby, we value reading as a crucial life skill. By the time children leave us, they read confidently for meaning and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure. Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. We encourage our children to see themselves as readers for both pleasure and purpose.

Get in touch

Barlby Primary School Barlby Road, London W10 6BH
020 8969 3988