Unlike other subjects, the English curriculum consists largely of skills to be developed rather than topics to be learned. The study of English has always been central to a Barrett Hay education and remains at the heart of the school curriculum. It has been drawn up to take into account National Curriculum, and Barrett Hay syllabus requirements and falls into three cross –related components of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing.

Speaking and Listening

Unlike all levels, English lessons foster positive attitudes towards speaking and listening skills and include activities such as describing, narrating, informing, planning, problem-solving, discussing, debating, persuading, speculating and summarizing.

Children are encouraged to express themselves clearly and evaluate the ideas through class discussions.

During their time at Barrett Hay the children are expected to talk, listen and respond appropriately and with increasing confidence. All children are given the opportunity to speak in front of the class.


Our main aim is for children to view reading as a pleasurable experience. At Barrett Hay, reading is seen as a means of developing thinking and learning as oppose to an isolated and separate skill.

All Parents are expected to take an active involvement from an early stage to support their child, as they become independent readers. Children are expected to read every evening in addition to their homework.

During their time at Barrett Hay children are introduced to novels, short stories, plays and poems from the classics to modern day writers, as well as some of the works of Shakespeare.

Class teachers regularly set aside time during lessons to discuss literature with the children. These sessions help to instil the desire to widen children’s reading experience. In addition, children are given a list of recommended reading to help guide their choices from there school and public libraries.

Children are encouraged to become enthusiastic, independent and reflective readers. As they progress though the school they are introduced to an increasingly wide variety of literary materials.


During their time at Barrett Hay, the children are given the opportunity to write across a broad variety of topics. Marking is constructive, with plenty of encouragement and advice.

Our overall aim in this area is to develop the ability to.

  • organise written material appropriately
  • distinguish between different types of writing
  • use spelling, punctuation and grammar correctly
  • write for a range of purposes and audience

Children are taught to recognize the importance of writing as a means of communication. Activities include the writing of stories, poems, letters, instructions, reviews and essays.

We also encourage good handwriting and help the children to achieve a legible script as a matter of course.

Barrett Hay Saturday School, St. John’s Pre School, Sylvan Road, Crystal Palace, London, SE19 2RX | t: 020 3468 4050 | e: education@bhes.co.uk
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