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Our English curriculum covers a broad and balanced range of texts including fiction, non fiction and poetry. It introduces students to different styles of writing and allows them to develop their own writer's voice. 

Each of our English lessons includes active time outside on the farm, using the environment for inspiration and to engage students. 

Our curriculum is informed by student interest and EHCP targets, taking into account any knowledge gaps identified during initial assessments. 

Find out more about Reading at Yew Tree Farm School here.


Many of our children are reluctant writers, so we aim to ensure all of our writing has a clear real life purpose and is embedded in our topic work.  Writing is rarely done in an exercise book, but outside with a clipboard, on a large scale piece of paper with felt tips, on post stick notes or on a whiteboard.  We aim to have an opportunity to write everyday in our English and topic sessions.  For summative assessments we will have a termly longer writing piece. 


To reduce demand upon our pupils we do not have a strict handwriting policy at Yew Tree Farm School.  Correct letter formation is modelled, however we believe as long as we can read a student's work, the style of their handwriting is not important.  Writing is differentiated by outcome and level of support.  Children have individual writing targets and where for some putting pen to paper is an achievement, others will be expected to include a range of writing techniques in their work.  Therefore the activity will be the same for the whole class, but the success criteria will vary for each student. 

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening refer to an important set of literacy skills that will create the foundation for a lot of your children's further learning. Listening requires the fundamental skill of focusing attention on the speaker to be able to hear and understand what the speaker is saying. Speaking skills require students to take turns, speak confidently, stay on topic, and speak with clarity.

​Speaking and Listening Skills for our Students:

  • Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.

  • Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.

  • Use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary.

  • Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.

  • Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including expressing feelings.

  • Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.

  • Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.

  • Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English.

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates.

  • Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s).

  • Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others.

  • Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Much of our learning at Yew Tree Farm School is through group discussions; exploring topics, building vocabulary and learning how to listen and respond appropriately. 

Speaking and listening skills are developed across the curriculum, for example during campfire PSHE sessions, when making decisions as a group for farm projects, during walk and talk PE sessions and when giving presentations for topic subjects. 

Teachers and staff are constantly assessing students' speaking and listening abilities and using B squared to record progress. 

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