English curriculum

World book day staff.jpg
World Book Day.jpg

The Intent of our English Curriculum

At Royal Cross, communication is at the heart of everything we do. Any hearing loss, no matter what range, affects language development and understanding, and impacts upon all aspects of emotional, cognitive, and social development. Many of our children begin with very little to no communication system in place. For those that do, vocabulary is often very limited.  Communication skills and language are therefore paramount for our pupils and our curriculum is built around this, with English and Communication at its core.

We aim to develop pupils’ skills in this area within a personalised programme of communication, reading and writing.  From the Early Years, it is taught at an individual level for all learners, with a clear focus on the importance of early communication skills, in both speech and sign. Communication remains central to what we do, and when appropriate, the curriculum will also then develop the early stages of reading and writing. As these skills progress, we aim for our children to become independent communicators, readers and writers, and to develop their own ideas and opinions based on the texts they read, the learning they receive and the conversations with others.We aim for all our children to develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information, acquiring an ever-increasing vocabulary and knowledge of the world.

Pupils will also access writing activities across a range of areas of the Curriculum with a focus on increasing motivation and the desire to write. Reading, Writing and Communication are integrated in all areas of the curriculum to ensure pupils develop the necessary skills to prepare them for the next stage in their learning journey and enable them to apply skills and knowledge in different contexts.

At Royal Cross our Intent for English, above all, is that Children leave school confident to begin the next phase in their education with good communication skills and a good knowledge of the world around them. We aim for them to have formed deaf identities, which are proven to have a positive impact on children’s communication, sense of self and self-esteem.

The implementation of our English Curriculum

Communication and language is taught explicitly as well as being central to everything we do. A positive learning culture is created in school where children enjoy reading and writing.


Exciting, well-delivered lessons are created which are tailored to pupils’ individual needs and abilities. Pupil’s induvial targets (in both English and Communication) are evidenced in planning and teachers and TA’s have a good knowledge of pupil’s targets and areas for development. Communication targets are created in collaboration with the Speech and Language Therapist, BSL Instructor and the Teacher of the Deaf. Lessons are planned in sequence to build upon prior skills and knowledge. Children are exposed to a wide variety of text types, in line with the National Curriculum and our Rolling Programmes ensure complete coverage.

Teaching and Delivery

Communication Skills are taught and developed throughout the school through a mixture of structured learning and non-formal methods. Singing and Signing, Pupil Led learning, Outdoor learning and Continuous Provision form the large majority of the day in our Early Years and are supported by staff who are skilled in developing early stages of communication. Teachers and TA’s assist pupil learning through modelling, guiding and support as necessary. Individual communication targets are worked on formally throughout school as well as broader communication skills being developed throughout the day through staff’s good practice.

Pupils are taught reading and writing using a Systematic Synthetic Phonics Approach and we support this using Visual Phonics. As a school we use Red Rose Letters & Sounds. For those deaf children who can't access sound or have limited access to sound visual phonics provides visual hand movements and symbols that represent the sounds (phonemes) of a language. This provides a scaffold and enables our children to access phonics.

With regards to writing,we are passionate about seeing every child develop an enthusiasm for writing, understanding its uses and importance. We value every form of writing from pre-writing skills to mark making, and then through the development of more formal writing where we encourage children to write for pleasure as with higher motivation

comes greater success. All children have access to colourful semantics so children learn the grammatical structure of language. This begins from EYFS and continues through the school. Our S&L therapists use it within sessions and work alongside teachers so children receive consistent targeted work.

Teaching is monitored by the subject lead through a combination of lesson observations, book scrutinies, learning walks, pupil questionnaires and subject moderation. Teachers are supported through lesson observations with the subject lead and through training where necessary.


We have a robust target setting, assessment and analysis procedure which is effective in meeting learning needs and ensuring pupils are making progress. Children across all key stages, including Early Years, are assessed termly. KS1 and KS2 use our school assessment tool, BSquared. This assesses the different strands of English: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Spelling and Punction, Vocabulary and Grammar. Early Years are assessed in using Development Matters and Success from the Start (NDCS). Teachers also conduct formal language assessments to monitor children and, from these, monitor progression and identify targets. Progress towards the outcomes of the EHCP are carefully monitored and the annual targets are broken down into termly targets (including an English target for those in KS1 and KS2). These are included on the children's PLP's.

The Impact of our English curriculum

Our children are confident communicators. For most of our BSL children, BSL is not used at home and therefore the only access they have to communication is in school. These skills learnt in school are critical in ensuring they have communication skills which will see them through into adult life. Pupils make progress in each area of the English curriculum, in line with their level of development. They enjoy reading, and love to discuss and share their ideas. They produce great pieces of written work both in English and across the curriculum. Skills and knowledge across all areas is achieved year on year, with many pupils making outstanding progress. Children leave school confident to begin the next phase in their education. The English curriculum prepares our children for secondary education many of which attend our local mainstream secondary provision. Deaf identities are formed within school which improve children’s communication, sense of self and self-esteem.

Reading KS2.jpg
Connie Reading.jpg
DC Reading.jpg

Useful Information

Here you will find information about English coverage for each Key stage along with progression documents which ensure our children are consistently making progress.

Useful documents

‘Communication is Key’