At Star of the Sea our aim is that children will become confident and independent readers, writers and speakers with a love and understanding of words and the possibilities that they open up for us. This underpins learning in all curriculum subjects. We will promote an engagement with texts to foster a lifelong love of books and a culture of reading widely and often. Children will have many, varied opportunities to read for pleasure and for information, to write for different audiences and to speak for different purposes. We intend that children will be confident in transferring these skills across every aspect of life and will become excellent communicators. We want children's experience of the English curriculum to be an exciting, meaningful and creative experience with personal highlights that they will remember as they move forwards.

Curriculum Policy


Writing Curriculum 2023-24


Oracy Progression Map


Reading Progression Map


Writing Progression Map


Spelling Progression Map


Star of the Sea Reading Spine

These are the books that teachers will read aloud to pupils every day purely for reading pleasure and enjoyment. Our Reading Spine rationale and choices are based on:

Doug Lemov’s ‘5 Plagues of the Developing Reader’ (archaic texts, non-linear time sequences, complexity of the narrator, complexity of plot/symbol and resistant texts);and, also, on our ethos of inclusivity and intent to reflect realities in our chosen texts.In this way children will experience a range of carefully selected books, genres, characters and authors.

EYFS will read books in two strands to learn about both narrative convention and the wider world.  As they do so, we will ensure they encounter ‘The Big 5’ Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson, Eric Carle, Shirley Hughes, Trish Cooke, Jez Alborough.

Finally, our Reading Spine is dynamic and fluid. It is constantly under review and it will change to meet the needs of each class.

Take a look at the current texts by clicking on the document below.

Reading Spine


10 Top Tips for Parents


Read Write Inc (RWI) Phonics

Early reading is taught using systematic synthetic phonics throughout EYFS and KS1. This is taught through daily Read Write Inc (RWI) lessons. Our school day begins with every child learning RWI phonics (or RWI Spelling in KS2). These lessons teach the children to decode sounds, blend them to form words and apply their skills to encourage fluency and comprehension.

As the children learn new sounds they also begin to read storybooks closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge.  The sessions are fast paced and interactive to ensure the children make rapid progress. Their progress is assessed regularly and they are grouped according to the level they are working at. Children are encouraged to sound and blend as a technique when reading and to apply their phonic knowledge in their writing, spelling words using the sounds they know.

As they move into KS2, any children who are not secure in phonics will receive targeted sessions to plug gaps. For older pupils, RWI ‘Fresh Start’, an intervention following on from the Read Write Inc scheme, is used on a one to one basis.

​The videos below provide more information to help parents understand the scheme and how you can support your child:

Understanding Phonics

YouTube Link

How to Say the Sounds

YouTube Link

To find out more about how to help your child with their phonics in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 please see the relevant class Showbie page.

Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School

Seatonville Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, NE25 9EG
Main office: 0191 643 2080 | Absences: 0191 643 2088
Email: starofthesea.primary@ntlp.org.uk

Part of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust
A company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales. Company registration no: 7841435
Registered office: Fenham Hall Drive, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 9YH