St Hilda’s CE Primary School

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Spoken and Early Language  

Our Intent    

We want all children to develop a love of language. Early Language Development is integral to our approach to English in the EYFS and in Years 1-6. We aim to develop our children’s ability to use spoken and written language to communicate effectively – to listen, speak, read and write both in and for a wide range of contexts, purpose and audiences.    

As soon as children enter our schools, we place a great emphasis on developing their oracy skills. We have a firm belief that if children “can’t speak it, they can’t write it” therefore children are constantly encouraged to articulate their sentences before beginning to write them down. The focus on oracy continues as children progress through the school with strategies used across the curriculum, throughout the school.    

In the early years, through promoting a love of storytelling and books, as well as facilitating high quality adult interactions, we provide children with the opportunities to explore language and vocabulary in a range of contexts. Children are excited and enthusiastic to use their enriched knowledge of words and take this back into their play and learning both within and outside of the classroom environment. Adults are tuned into spotting the teachable moments, to draw out ambitious and top-tier vocabulary from high quality texts.   

Our Implementation   

We promote early language development in a number of different ways...    

High quality adult interactions    

Story telling   

  • Retelling well-known stories  
  • Taking the children's own ideas and scribing their story. Children have the opportunity to act their stories out.      
  • Discrete, teacher-led sessions that promote children's confidence and enjoyment of using spoken language.   
  • Book talk sessions focused on Reading for Pleasure books that children take home.     
  • High quality adult interactions that focus on enhancing vocabulary  
  • Open ended resources that promote imaginative play and language development.   

Daily singing and rhyme time

  • Every day, our EYFS classes have 10 minutes singing and rhyme time.   
  • These include well-known nursery rhymes and songs, as well as number songs and opportunities to sing current songs that the children love!  


  • Each class in EYFS use poetry throughout the day.   
  • In Nursery, our poetry anthology is Zim Zam Zoom. In Reception, it is Midnight Feasts.   
  • In Reception, we have a poem of the week, using Trisha Lee's 'Poetry Basket'. Each day, children recite a topical poem that they can remember by heart! 

Spoken Language: Throughout the school we …   

  • Identify opportunities for speaking and listening in planning and maximising cross-curricular links  
  • Provide opportunities to use drama, improvisation and performance (e.g., hot seating, freeze frame, puppets, debates etc)   
  • Provide real life situations to apply their speaking and listening skills e.g., class assemblies, visitors invited into school to share their knowledge and expertise, school performances, class sharing opportunities  
  • Use talk partners to generate and share ideas in small groups to invent or cement their understanding  
  • Draw out tier 2 and tier 3 vocabulary from across our reading and experiences and explicitly teach these words  

Our Impact   

We measure the effectiveness and impact of our English curriculum in a variety of ways. The quality of spoken language is evaluated by learning walks, drop-ins, ‘pupil voice’ discussions, work scrutiny and summative assessments. This informs the subject leader of the impact of new initiatives as well as future areas for improvement. After monitoring, the subject leader provides feedback to the headteacher/staff and governors and identifies areas for development which is then shared with all staff.    

The impact of the English curriculum is clearly developing with our revised way of teaching. There is evidence of progress, sustained learning and transferable skills and children are becoming more confident speakers.   


English will be assessed both formally and informally and using Assessment for Learning, our planning will adapt to the needs of the pupils. We will monitor progress against the spoken language progression which we have adopted.