Balfour Infant School





At Balfour Infant School 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.

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.

We strive to enable each child to:

  • Read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding.
  • Have an interest in books and read for enjoyment and with enthusiasm
  • Have an interest in words, their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.
  • By developing the powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.
  • Have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses.


At Balfour our reading objectives are to ensure that pupils can:

  • Master their initial reading skills so that they become independent and enthusiastic readers
  • Read a range of texts fluently, accurately and with understanding
  • Find out the information they need in order to research and answer the questions of others
  • Understand the variety of written language and the differences between fiction and non-fiction
  • Understand and respond to a wide range of books and media texts


At Balfour our writing objectives are to ensure that pupils can:

  • Express themselves clearly and precisely for enjoyment.
  • Demonstrate their understanding of how writing enables them to remember, communicate, organise and develop their ideas and information.
  • Write for an increasing range of purposes matching their language to the needs of the appropriate audiences.
  • Understand the appropriate use and purpose of an increasing range of written forms
  • Write neatly and with accurate spelling and expression.


At Balfour Infants our speaking and listening objective is to ensure that pupils can:

  • Formulate, clarify and express their ideas
  • Express themselves in a variety of situations using language which is appropriate to their needs and the intended audience
  • Listen, understand and respond appropriately to others
  • Use, with increasing confidence, the vocabulary and grammar of standard Literacy.



We believe consistency and well taught reading and writing is the bedrock of a valuable education. Careful planning will ensure that these resources and approaches are appropriately matched to individual pupils and taking account of children’s learning needs. At Balfour Infants we strive to maintain a breadth and balance, but we recognise that certain modes may require special emphasis at a specific time and for a specific purpose.  


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.



At Balfour Infant School we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. We 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. 

Please see separate Phonics page for further information.



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 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.  There are regular opportunities for children to read one to one with adults in school. All children will read to an adult at least once every week.

Children take home a Bug Club reading book twice a week. The books they bring home will be matched to the phonic sounds they currently know.  Reading and re-reading these books will encourage fluency in the children’s reading, which in turn will boost their confidence in their own reading abilities. 

As part of the Bug Club phonic scheme, children will also have access to a number of phonic books, games and activities on their online platform. Again, the books and resources provided online will match their current phonic knowledge. The children’s’ phonic knowledge is assessed regularly to ensure the books they bring home and have access to online are matched to their current abilities. 

Children continue to use our decodable phonics books until they become a confident reader. At this stage, they then progress to reading books from banded books. Once 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.

We always have daily story times, focusing on the enjoyment of a text for its own sake. During this time, teachers highlight authors, ask inferential questions, point out vocabulary and textual features and model the love of reading. 

Every classroom has a reading area which is designed to promote the love of reading. Books are carefully selected to include a range of genres and styles. We also hold many different reading events.



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.



The impact of the English Curriculum at Balfour Infant on our pupils is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.


Learners will:

  • Develop an age-appropriate detailed knowledge and skills in English.
  • Achieve well which will be reflected in personal progress, small and longer term goals and results reflected in data meeting government expectations.
  • Be ready for the next stage of education whether that be the next Key Stage or transition to the next year group allowing pupils to follow their interests, aspirations and plans for the future.
  • Read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension.



What do our children think of English at Balfour Infant School?

Year R child:We’ve been learning about the three little pigs. I made a book of the story.”

Year One child: “It makes me read better when I read books at school. It helps me with my writing.”

Year Two child: I like writing stories because I like to write. When I read my work through I check for full stops and that my writing makes sense.


English Gallery



Useful links

Recommended reads for Year R:

Recommended reads for Year One:

Recommended reads for Year Two:



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 Ms D Atkinson

Tel: 01634 338280