Curriculum Leaders

  • Mrs R Wade 

English Curriculum Overview

At Hexham Middle School, our English curriculum is designed to promote and encourage a lifelong enjoyment and love of reading; create curious, independent and perceptive thinkers; and equip our pupils with the communicative skills and technical accuracy that they will need to flourish and succeed in the next stage of their education and beyond. At the heart of this curriculum is our commitment to ensuring that pupils appreciate a wide range of literature and are enabled to broaden their horizons through powerful reading opportunities.

We pride ourselves on having created a diverse and vibrant curriculum, which has been thoughtfully sequenced to support our pupils to develop well and achieve their full potential over time. The curriculum has been carefully planned to ensure pupils build on the skills they have been previously taught: perceptive connections between literary texts are more readily grasped; retaining key knowledge is made more manageable and developing proficiency in reading, writing and communication is strengthened.

Over four years our pupils are gradually exposed to a diverse range of fiction, both modern and classical; exciting non-fiction works; poetry and drama. Teachers use our dynamic canon of literature to create meaningful opportunities for pupils to develop their reading fluency, writing and spoken language skills. Our well-chosen texts incite natural discussion around serious issues such as: spirituality, society, diversity, culture and relationships, and our classrooms provide a secure forum for pupils to voice their ideas.

Throughout the school, the English curriculum is designed to interweave the development of reading, writing, grammar, punctuation and spelling skills. All learning is driven by the class text and children are immersed in reading at every stage. The aims of the HMS curriculum align with the National Curriculum. In reading, a whole class approach is used to develop pupils’ fluency, comprehension and enjoyment of reading. Reading lessons focus on a wide range of texts and develop pupils’ understanding of rich vocabulary through strategies such as modelled reading, repeated reading, analysis of texts and a focus on developing the skills of reading (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, summarising and sequencing). To develop writing composition skills, teachers follow a structured and evidence-based approach. Pupils are taught the skills of writing through high-quality models, structured planning, small step writing development, rich development of grammar and punctuation knowledge and a focus on drafting, editing and evaluating. Pupils across all year groups have opportunities to write regularly and across the full range of genres. Grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting learning is woven across the curriculum so that pupils develop their knowledge in the context of reading and writing and have opportunities to apply their learning regularly. The whole curriculum enables pupils to develop their spoken language and literacy skills as we know that these skills are essential in building confidence and success. 

In both years 5 and 6, our curriculum is underpinned by a robust focus on reading and writing. Each term will be planned around a range of core texts ensuring that, during their time at HMS, all pupils will have studied a balanced and rich curriculum. In Key Stage 2, we have introduced a whole class reading model – this will focus on the teaching of fluency and comprehension skills using texts linked to the core text or writing outcome. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are embedded into every lesson and woven throughout the curriculum. We know that this approach is essential to solidify the composite skills needed to enjoy both reading and writing as they proceed onwards in their education. All teachers adapt their lessons and implement our curriculum to allow all pupils to thrive in their learning of English.

Pupils in Key Stage 3 build on their learning in Key Stage 2 through a seamlessly planned curriculum which enables pupils to thrive. Pupils will develop their reading and writing skills through studying a broad range of diverse and challenging texts.  As pupils move into Key Stage 3, their study and analysis of rich texts helps them to develop their reading skills, vocabulary and provide powerful stimuli for writing. Through the study of Shakespearean texts, pupils will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of texts in performance and consider the impact of the drama upon the audience. In addition to this, our pupils will study a range of fiction, poetry and non-fiction and study writing throughout the ages. They will be given many opportunities to share their views about the texts they read and will develop their speaking and listening skills throughout lessons.  We will support all pupils through careful planning and through bespoke resources and guidance from teaching and support staff. Teachers will continue to weave grammar, punctuation and spelling knowledge into the curriculum to ensure that learning from Key Stage 2 is built upon and that retention of knowledge is maintained. 

Throughout each year group, teachers will assess the impact of the curriculum through well-planned formative and summative assessment opportunities. A coherent assessment schedule enables teachers to monitor the achievement of pupils in reading, writing and grammar, punctuation and spelling. To ensure retention of learning, teachers will use regular in-class strategies to check pupils’ understanding and adapt their teaching to ensure that all pupils have a strong knowledge, understanding and application of their learning.

Sequence of Learning

Visual overview of the texts studied across Years 5-8 (there are options under the image to download or zoom in)

Curriculum Sequence

To download a PDF of the curriculum sequence, click here.


To download a PDF of the assessment framework, click here.

The National Curriculum - Glossary

To access the glossary, click here.

Wider Curriculum and Personal Development

There are lots of things that we do here at HMS to enrich our English curriculum, throughout the four years that all students are with us, they have many chances to: become librarians; see live drama; learn and recite poetry by heart; use our welcoming library; meet and question authors and poets; take part in reading groups; visit historically linked places; enter writing competitions; visit book fairs and enjoy the experience reading for pleasure in form time.

​Our team of teachers in English are committed to instilling their own love of language and literature into our students and aim to do so in a way that is relatable, inclusive and exciting for our young learners. We want all students who leave HMS to cherish the memories they have of reading and continue to enjoy literature for many years to come.  

Supporting Documents

Useful Links

Reading Plus – pupils enter site code and username and password – each pupil will receive an individual username and password


All learners with additional needs access a broad and rich classroom experience with a well-planned curriculum both within and beyond the classroom. Pupils with additional needs are enabled to achieve well by:

      • High quality planning, teaching and learning across the curriculum.
      • Adaptations made in teaching and learning to ensure all pupils succeed and learn well. 
      • Staff responding to learners’ needs and adapting teaching as a result. 
      • Teaching staff planning and delivering a wide range of high-quality interventions and support sessions. 
      • High-quality ‘Pupil Profiles’ which ensure staff know each child as an individual, including how to support their learning. 
      • Where appropriate, an ‘Individual Education Plan’ with bespoke and individualised targets is implemented, and regularly reviewed. 
      • For learners with an ‘Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)’, a wide range of individualised targets and support strategies are implemented in a multi-agency approach. 
      • Coordinating our ambitious support in school alongside a multi-agency approach to ensure that all pupils achieve their full potential. 

As part of our implementation model – the ’10 Elements of Great Teaching’ – our teaching and support staff will enable pupils with additional needs to thrive by: 

      • Planning well-sequenced lessons which build progressively in small steps. 
      • Implementing the school’s lesson design principles so that teachers gradually handover the learning through guided and independent practice. 
      • Maintaining a calm, focused, inclusive and positive environment for learning in all classrooms. 
      • Implementing a wide range of strategies to empower pupils to remember more over time and to check that this is the case. 
      • Using metacognitive strategies to encourage self-regulation and to plan, monitor and evaluate learning. 
      • Delivering expectations and instructions clearly in small steps. 
      • Teaching subject-specific vocabulary (tier 3), alongside tier 2 vocabulary, and ensuring that it is used and retained. 
      • Using a wide range of teaching resources and materials to support all learners including visual and audio resources. 
      • Using high-quality modelling in lessons through the ‘I do, we do, you do’ approach. 
      • Using a wide range of scaffolds to support learning including writing frames, planning structures, word processing. 
      • Providing high-quality worked examples which narrate the learning, steps and processes so that pupils develop their independence of learning. 
      • Using organisers such as ‘Knowledge Organisers’, diagrams, planning structures and writing frames to support pupils’ learning. 
      • Allowing pupils to record their ideas in a range of ways including, where necessary, by using online resources and visual/audio support. 
      • Providing word lists/vocabulary banks to support pupils’ access to learning. 
      • Using sentence stems to promote positive talk and discussion. 
      • Using flexible groupings in the classroom so that pupils can learn alongside and from each other. 
      • Implementing dyslexia-friendly approach to reading and writing tasks. 
      • Modelling thinking out loud strategies across the curriculum. 
      • Using a wide range of technologies including online resources, voice recording and visualisers to model worked examples.