Skip to content

English at SJF

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.

Therefore at St John Fisher, we have placed English and literature at the heart of the curriculum through the use of the FocusEnglish scheme of work.   Our English curriculum uses high-quality texts as the driver for each unit to ensure we deliver the teaching and learning of English in a purposeful and engaging way.  Across each year group, texts from classic to current authors have been selected as well as access to an additional reading spine to ensure that pupils experience a wide and rich reading curriculum to promote a life-long love of reading. 

We believe it is vital that our children have the ability to read, write, speak and listen in a way that lets them communicate effectively and make sense of the world.  To think, explore, organise, learn and communicate effectively means our children need high-level literacy skills.

Long Term Plans

Below are links to each year group’s long term plan and vocabulary progression:

SFJ Rainbow Spelling Scheme

What is the SJF Rainbow Spelling Scheme?

A scheme to aid developing spelling knowledge using the statutory word lists set by the Department for Education.

Why are you introducing a SJF Rainbow Spelling Scheme?

Due to the interruption in the children’s learning over the past few years, we wish to accelerate plugging the gaps we identify.  Having a good bank of spellings will aid the children’s confidence and progression in writing.  Even in our modern digital age, spelling is still an important skill. 

How does it work?

  • There are six spelling lists: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple which progressively get more challenging.
  • At the end of each term you will be provided with a list to let you know which level your child is working at so they can be supported in school and home.
  • If spelt correctly the word will be highlighted. If a word is not highlighted, these are the words to target at home.

What happens when my child completes a list?

Once a list is completed, for example ‘Red’ list, your child will receive a Red badge to wear on their uniform to celebrate their achievement.  For each colour list they complete, they will receive the corresponding coloured badge.  If a child completes all the lists, they will receive a ‘Rainbow’ badge to celebrate their achievement.

How will I know if my child is working on an age-related list?

We are aiming for each child to complete a list per year.  For example, the aim is to confidently complete the ‘Red’ list by the end of Year 1, the ‘Orange’ list by the end of Year 2 etc.  Therefore by Year 6, they will be aiming to complete the ‘Purple’ list.  We understand this is a new scheme so may take a year or two to embed.

Can my child work on the next list before waiting to move to the next year group?

Yes.  For example in Year 1, if a child receives a ‘Red’ badge for completing the ‘Red’ list in the middle of the academic year, they can immediately start working on the ‘Orange’ list.  Some children may achieve the ‘Rainbow’ badge before Year 6.

Will my child still receive a weekly spelling list?

Yes.  The SJF Rainbow Spelling Scheme will run alongside the weekly spelling lists.  The weekly spelling lists are extremely important as they will be consolidating the spelling rules that are being taught in class that week.

How can I manage a weekly spelling list and the SJF Rainbow Spelling Scheme list?

There are on average 60 spellings in each spelling list, that is an average of 2 spellings per school week.  We would suggest adding two Rainbow spellings to the weekly spelling list to practise at home. Some children may want to work on more.

Spelling Strategies

These are strategies that can help you support your child to learn their spellings at home.


Ask your child to segment or ‘sound out’ the word they want to spell by breaking it down into its phonemes and writing down the constituent sounds.

c-a-t, sh-i-p

Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check

Get your child to look at the word and say it out loud, then cover it, write it and check to see if it is correct. If not, highlight or underline the incorrect part and repeat the process.


Break the word down into its syllables. Say or clap each syllable in the word as they write the word down.  re-mem-ber


This is one of the most important strategies as children must be able to spell words in context and apply what they have learnt. Read out a sentence including the word your child is trying to learn, can they remember and write down the whole sentence, spelling the word correctly.

This will also help with understanding word meaning as well as being able to spell the word.


You can make families of words thinking about what they all have in


night – fright – sight – slight – tight

Base words

This is where you break the word into its base word and the prefix of suffix that has been added to it, rather than trying to remember how to spell the word as a whole.

dis-similar – dissimilar

Root words / Making links

This strategy is usually saved until Key Stage 2.

Here you make links between the meaning of words and their spelling or their root.

sign, signal, signature

bicycle – bi (two) cycle (circle)


With your child, you can make up your own rhyme, song or story to help remember the letters in the word in the correct order.

Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants – because

could should wouldo u lucky duck

Words within words

Sometimes it helps to think about the small words that you can find within a longer word.

There is a rat within separate

teacher: tea, each, ache, her

The busy bus

Spelling Rules / Patterns

As your child starts to get taught generalisations and spelling rules/patterns. Help them to remember these as they are taught, remembering that there will always be exceptions to the rule!

change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’: penny – pennies

Drop the e to add ing :   skate = skating     make = making

‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’: believe, piece, chief, receipt    an exception =ancient

Skip to content