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English at Balfour Primary School

‘Reading is like breathing in. Writing is like breathing out.’ Pam Allyn.

At Balfour Primary School, we have carefully crafted our English curriculum to ensure it is engaging, by exploring themes and topics beyond the experiences of our children, whilst maintaining purpose and progression. We believe in reading being at the heart of all learning, and we aim to instil passion and enthusiasm for reading and writing through the delivery of a rich English curriculum.

Wherever possible, we look for links between the reading and writing curriculum and the wider curriculum subjects taught to create an exciting and immersive learning experience for our children. In doing so, this supports our children in making connections between the knowledge and skills of other subject’s areas and provides opportunities for children to show their understanding of these through purposeful English tasks.

To support our families in becoming familiar with the curriculum we deliver, we have broken English down into five key areas and subheadings:

  •  Handwriting
  • Phonics and Early Reading
  • Reading Fluency and Comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Writing

Please use the menu on the right to explore our English curriculum further.

Poetry at Balfour Primary

‘Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn.’ Thomas Gray

At Balfour Primary School we recognise the value and importance of teaching poetry. We ensure that the poems which we teach through our writing lessons are excellent examples of poetic form, aimed to inspire our children to engage with poetry independently.

For most children, poetry isn’t their first choice of independent reading material. However, it is something which many children love to explore and enjoy learning about, and is also linked to key opportunities for speaking and listening skill development.

We aim for our teachers to be excellent role models with all aspects of reading and writing. There is a school expectation that teachers hold time to share, discuss and exploring a variety of poetic forms outside of writing lessons. We believe in the value of this time within the school day and try to interweave poems into other school experiences such as assemblies.

Why are poems important?

From a very early age, children engage in nursery rhymes and rhyming narrative texts. They begin to discover that how texts are structured and the vocabulary included has been done so for impact and purpose. This knowledge of writing and poetry grows as children are given opportunities to look at poems of different forms. They explore unknown words and phrases, syllables and key writing skills such as similes and onomatopoeias.

There are so many different poetic forms. Children love to explore them all and really enjoy the challenge of preparing a different form of writing that often isn’t full, complete, punctuated sentences. For example, Haikus! Children love to learn about the art and style of trying to write to match a particular poetic style. In doing so, they are unravelling many aspects of the English language and structure. In addition to this, it provides children with another form of writing to express themselves. When writing a poem, they often have to make links on a topic/theme and build upon these with their own experiences and those which they may have read about.

Speaking and Listening, National Curriculum skills

Poetry provides an excellent opportunity to develop key speaking and listening skills. By performing poetry or simply reciting a poem children are given opportunities to speak audibly and fluently, participate in performances and develop their spoken intonation. The opportunities to perform poems often help to being them alive and support children in hearing patterns and language choices made by a poet.

Our core poetry at Balfour Primary

At Balfour Primary School we have identified core taught poetry for each year group. This is to ensure that we have coverage of the range of poetic forms and can therefore teach poetic devices alongside them. In addition to this, we have ensured that the poems chosen by each year group are high quality examples of poetry and aim to inspire our children.

Get Caught Reading Competition  (Jan 2021)



Some exciting news! We have selected the winners of the Get Caught Reading competition. You can see the fantastic submissions below.

A big thank you to all the children and families who took part in the Get Caught Reading competition. It was so lovely to see you all immersed in a variety of books around your homes and local area. We can now announce the winners!

  • Year R- Claudia, Beetles
  • Year 1 - Levi, Armadillos
  • Year 2- Seren, Lemon Tree
  • Year 3- Jack, Fern
  • Year 4- George, Oxygen
  • Year 5- Oliver, Uganda
  • Year 6- Phoenix, Rattlesnakes


Huge congratulations to our winners! We will be in touch very soon to let you know how to receive your book token. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more competitions coming soon!

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Get Caught Reading results (Jan 2021)