Mastering English Policy
St Mary’s Junior Academy, St Benet’s Trust
Mastering English is a strategy that provides a progressive and structured approach to
teaching reading and writing to primary aged pupils.
This bespoke curriculum has been designed for St Benet’s Trust Schools with
approaches adapted from T4W, Power of Reading and the previous National Literacy
St. Mary’s have adapted the curriculum to ensure that it meets the needs of ALL
children at our school.
This strategy is being rolled out across the school during the 2021-2022 academic year.
It is being adopted in a systematic way to ensure staff gain knowledge and
understanding of the fundamental pedagogical approaches that underpin this
strategy. Implementation throughout the school year is designed with:
cognitive load theory in mind;
built-in opportunities to reflect;
whole staff training combined with small group work and individual support;
progression understanding for all staff from EYFS to Year 6 , as well as year group
English leads driving improvements on the ground in schools;
School improvement and Trust improvement plans all aligning to support the
collaboration being woven into the structure so that the schools hosting the training
offer opportunities to view books and learning environments;
resources being developed alongside the strategy to support workload.
The roll out of this strategy, and the approaches that underpin it, are built upon the DFE guidance document ‘The Reading Framework – teaching the foundations of literacy
Mastering English focuses on providing high quality texts mapped out from Year 3 to
Year 6 for children to engage in. For each half term, there is a core text that links
directly to grammar, punctuation and writing outcomes alongside decoding and
comprehension skills. The texts chosen are selected for their diversity and
inclusivity. Each year has a range of fiction and non-fiction core texts as well as one
poetry text. Texts link, where possible, to wider curriculum materials to support
vocabulary development and the building of schemata. Texts get progressively more
advanced in language and content material as the strategy progresses throughout the
The Mastering English curriculum immerses children into specific writing genres, through the method of ‘Read It, Try It, Write It’, a 2/3-week period of skills development.
Read It, Try It, Write It overview
Our year-group specific overview documents map out the skills and objectives for each
text year on year. To view these, click on the year group overview attachments below.
To support these, there are success criteria grids linked to genres and tied to national
Training in this approach has been developed based on staff understanding how
children learn to read and write. It links directly with the Structured Systematic Phonics training from the Wensum English Hub and the Little Wandle strategy that schools have chosen from the DFE-approved list of schemes.
Mastering English builds on the fundamentals of learning. It has a structured approach
within each unit of work and lessons are built around staff modelling the core skills of
speaking, listening, reading and writing.
The strategy maps out clearly when, and how, the modelling of these core skills takes
place, as well as the vocabulary extension and development needed within each unit of
work. As a trust, the approach is to support the development of this strategy with coaching and mentoring over time. The face to face training is the start, alongside this Subject Leaders will coach staff with the support of the School Improvement Lead. The subject leads will have termly training in how best to support staff from the lead and teachers will have the opportunity to visit schools within, and external, to the trust to gain more experience and a deeper understanding of Literacy.
This CPD approach builds the staff training in the same way the strategy builds the core skills for the children.
The strategy runs alongside a clear timetable of expectations for exposing children to
opportunities to learn new vocabulary, read for enjoyment and pleasure as well as gain
skills in decoding and comprehension.
Daily spelling investigation session
Daily shared reading session (storytime / poem time)
Daily Mastering English session
Daily intervention sessions for those identified using assessment for learning.
Reading and writing standards consistent across the wider curriculum as they would
be for the Mastering English sessions
Mastering English exposes children to high quality texts and the strategy maps out
clearly time to read often in lessons to children as mentioned in The Reading Framework
Principles underpinning the strategy:
1. Learning and development follow sequences.
2. Development and learning proceed at varying rates.
3. Development and learning result from an interaction of maturation and experience.
4. Development proceeds toward greater complexity, self-regulation, and symbolic or
5. Development and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple social and
6. Play and oracy is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation and promoting
language, cognition, and social competence.
7. Development and learning advance when children are challenged.
8. Children’s experiences shape their motivation and approaches to learning.
Learning should be a lifelong process and a rewarding and enjoyable experience for
everyone. Through our teaching of Mastering English there is a focus on inspiring the
children to learn, equipping them with the skills, knowledge and understanding
necessary to be autonomous learners who flourish.
Learning Expectations are:
Clear and focused based on learning rather than task
Discussed and explained to the children
Based on prior attainment, knowledge and understanding
Progressive and build upon prior knowledge, preparing them for future learning
Success criteria takes the form of marking ladders which:
Break down the learning taking place
Include the steps or 'ingredients' the children need to be successful in their learning
Are identified by the teacher during the planning process as well as in the strategy
Are discussed with the children during the lesson
Are displayed clearly throughout the unit of work / session
Takes place throughout the lesson
Is matched to children's levels and next steps learning
May occur through adult support; range and level of resources; time; task; different
Engages children in the learning
Is active and interactive
Has appropriate pace to ensure maximum learning takes place
Responds to, and is adapted to, ongoing assessment during the lesson
Clearly models successful learning/the learning activity
Generates success criteria
Is flexible according to the learning taking place
Questions will be asked to assess learning, challenge and deepen thinking and
understanding with sufficient processing time given along with rephrases if needed
The range will include open/closed; higher and lower order (e.g. Bloom's
Will be differentiated
Opportunities will be planned for children to develop their own questions and
Feedback & Marking
Regular feedback will be given to the children that identifies success and areas for
improvement/next steps learning
Opportunities are planned for children to regularly respond to feedback and marking
Children are trained to self and peer assess with guidelines and used regularly to
enable children to address misconceptions and make improvements to their work