Balfour Infant School



English at Balfour Infant School


Balfour Infant School is an inclusive school and we are welcoming to children of all abilities and backgrounds. Our school vision, which drives all that we do ensures that we remain committed to ensuring that all children can and do achieve to their full potential, in an environment which is supportive and nurturing of every individual. It is essential that our approach to teaching phonics, writing and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background.


At Balfour Infant School, we strive to ensure that all pupils receive an engaging, rich and quality English curriculum. Pupils develop their word reading and comprehension skills as set out in the National Curriculum. Within writing, children develop their handwriting, transcription, composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.


Speaking and Listening

Pupils are exposed to a wide range of language during English lessons and throughout the curriculum to develop and broaden their own vocabulary.

Staff ensure that they consistently model good speaking and listening skills. Adults encourage pupils to adapt the language for the given purpose and/or audience. When developing speaking and listening skills, adults sensitively correct standard English by repeating sentences back using the correct grammar and vocabulary. 

Within all lessons pupils are given the opportunity to develop their speaking and listening skills in a variety of ways. Collaborative learning where meaningful discussions take place are promoted. Pupils are encouraged to ask and answer questions to deepen their understanding of various concepts.


Reading and Phonics

At Balfour Infant School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We primarily use the Bug Club phonics scheme throughout the EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2. This is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. Children have time to practise and rapidly expand their ability to read and spell. 


 Discrete daily phonics sessions take place in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One. Within daily lessons the teaching sequence is as follows:






In EYFS, we use a range of exciting rhymes, songs, practical activities and outdoor learning to embed reading in a range of contexts, demonstrating to children the impact of reading in every aspect of life. Initially, pupils are taught to listen for sounds and rhythms, then they begin to learn the sounds of single letters. When children are confident with some of the Phase 2 phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters), then we introduce them to Phonics books that are decodable enabling them to begin to read independently. The main phonics book scheme we use within school is ‘Phonics Bug’ books. Children are able to move through the different stages of books as their Phonics knowledge increases enabling them to start to become independent and fluent readers.


Across the school, children are given a wide range of opportunities to practise their phonics and reading through the whole curriculum. Reading is explored through shared reading, independent reading and guided reading with an adult.  Children continue to use our decodable phonics books until they become a confident reader with a strong sight vocabulary. At this stage, they then progress to reading books from banded books. One children are fluent readers, Children are encouraged to make choices about the texts that they read. Within guided reading sessions, pupils continue to build on their comprehension skills. Children choose a weekly library book to take home as their reading for pleasure book.



Pupils in the Early Years Foundation Stage are provided with many engaging and exciting mark making opportunities. Pupils are encouraged to give meaning to the marks that they make within focus activities and child initiated play. Emergent writers are encouraged to develop their writing through stimulating activities and we recognise the importance of these stages within a pupils’ writing development.


Throughout their time at Balfour Infants, pupils will become creative and imaginative writers. Stories and books are used to support the development of writing. Cross curricular writing opportunities support pupils and support embedding core English skills. Pupils have a clear understanding of the purpose of their writing and who their target audience is. The pupils writing will include their rich based vocabulary. Pupils use their reading skills effectively to support their writing. Teachers provide modelling of high quality writing to show pupils’ expectations and support their writing skills. Regular independent writing for pupils is promoted to develop their writing.

Joined handwriting is introduced to pupils in Year Two when they have developed and are confident with their formation and grip. The school follows the Nelson hand writing programme.


Useful links

Recommended reads for Year R:

Recommended reads for Year One:

Recommended reads for Year Two:

How to articulate the phonemes link:


Balfour Infant School, Pattens Lane, Rochester, Kent ME1 2QT
For all general enquiries please contact our Headteacher Ms D Atkinson
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead is Ms D Atkinson
For all enquiries relating to SEND please contact our LINC Mrs M Forbes
Our Data Protection Officer is Mrs M Marden

Tel: 01634 338280