Key Stage 3   |    Key Stage 4   |    Key Stage 5

National Curriculum

The Ecclesbourne School follows the 3 Year National Curriculum

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.


Pupils should be taught to:

  • develop an appreciation and love of reading, and read increasingly challenging material independently through:
    • reading a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including in particular whole books, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors, including high-quality works from English literature, both pre-1914 and contemporary, including prose, poetry and drama; Shakespeare (2 plays) and seminal world literature
    • choosing and reading books independently for challenge, interest and enjoyment
    • rereading books encountered earlier to increase familiarity with them and provide a basis for making comparisons
  • understand increasingly challenging texts through:
    • learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries
    • making inferences and referring to evidence in the text
    • knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension
    • checking their understanding to make sure that what they have read makes sense
  • read critically through:
    • knowing how language, including figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, presents meaning
    • recognising a range of poetic conventions and understanding how these have been used
    • studying setting, plot, and characterisation, and the effects of these
    • understanding how the work of dramatists is communicated effectively through performance and how alternative staging allows for different interpretations of a play
    • making critical comparisons across texts
    • studying a range of authors, including at least 2 authors in depth each year


Pupils should be taught to:

  • write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through:
    • writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including: well-structured formal expository and narrative essays; stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing; notes and polished scripts for talks and presentations and a range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters
    • summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail
    • applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form
    • drawing on knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing
  • plan, draft, edit and proofread through:
    • considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended
    • amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of their writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness
    • paying attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling; applying the spelling patterns and rules set out in English appendix 1 to the key stage 1 and 2 programmes of study for English

Grammar and vocabulary

Pupils should be taught to:

  • consolidate and build on their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary through:
    • extending and applying the grammatical knowledge set out in English appendix 2 to the key stage 1 and 2 programmes of study to analyse more challenging texts
    • studying the effectiveness and impact of the grammatical features of the texts they read
    • drawing on new vocabulary and grammatical constructions from their reading and listening, and using these consciously in their writing and speech to achieve particular effects
    • knowing and understanding the differences between spoken and written language, including differences associated with formal and informal registers, and between Standard English and other varieties of English
    • using Standard English confidently in their own writing and speech
    • discussing reading, writing and spoken language with precise and confident use of linguistic and literary terminology*

*Teachers should refer to the glossary that accompanies the programmes of study for English for their own information on the range of terms used within the programmes of study as a whole.

Spoken English

Pupils should be taught to:

  • speak confidently and effectively, including through:
    • using Standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion
    • giving short speeches and presentations, expressing their own ideas and keeping to the point
    • participating in formal debates and structured discussions, summarising and/or building on what has been said
    • improvising, rehearsing and performing play scripts and poetry in order to generate languages and discuss language use and meaning, using role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action to add impact


English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.



Contact: Mrs S. SMcCammon

If you have any questions or queries relating to the English curriculum please email headofenglish@ecclesbourne.derbyshire.sch.uk for more information.