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.


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.

Spoken language (Speaking and Listening)

The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Speaking and listening is a high priority from the moment children start and opportunities for developing this are woven across the curriculum. We use debate, discussion and drama to encouraging high level thinking and engagement, as well as giving the children opportunities to hear speaking and listening for different purposes.

What do parents say about English at Hollydale?

“Hollydale expands literacy outside the classroom with its strong connection with Nunhead Library, working with organisations such as Debate Mate and project based homework. This has developed my child’s awareness of researching subjects, reading from a range of materials and developing her own ideas.” Tracey Francis

“I get completely blown away every time I listen to my children read. Hollydale has encouraged them to read from a wide range of genres, teaches them to write brilliantly using descriptive vocabulary and speak articulately. The  progress my children are making in reading, writing and speaking expressively is simply exemplary and outstanding. ” Nike Akingbade

“I’m so pleased with the progress my child is making with her reading and writing at Hollydale. My daughter is in Year 2 and can already use a range of literary devices and reads fluently with great expression. Her handwriting is better than mine!” Patrick Sweeney

“I have been really impressed with the progress my children have made with their reading at Hollydale. This school is excellent at promoting the pupils’ interest in books, authors and the different forms that writing can take. It feels like Literacy is at the heart of school life at Hollydale.” Jess Heather