White AshSpecial SchoolTogether, anything is possible…


Welcome toWhite Ash Special SchoolTogether, anything is possible…

English / Phonics


Welcome to our English Curriculum


At White Ash School, we understand that pupils are individual and unique, and learn in a variety of different ways. We aim to deliver a challenging and enjoyable English Curriculum, motivating and immersing our pupils in daily communication, reading, and writing experiences. 




Developing the fundamental skills of communication is so important for our pupils.  This ensures that they have alternative ways and methods to learn to read and write.

At White Ash, we use a Total Communication Approach, using a range of different methods to support each individual pupil.  These are:

  • Makaton signing
  • Symbols
  • Objects of reference
  • Intensive Interaction
  • Communication Devices
  • Colourful Semantics.


Please see our separate Communication page for more information.



Phonics and Reading

The teaching of reading at White Ash is completely tailored to meet the needs of every pupil in our school.  Phonics works for some of our learners but not for all.  Onsight word reading works for some but not for all.  As a school, we recognise that many different approaches and adaptations are needed to ensure that all pupils are engaged in a relevant and exciting curriculum.

All pupils have daily opportunities to develop their communication, phonics knowledge and reading, depending on their ability. Some of these include:

  • Early reading and communication activities – teaching through song and rhyme, sound discrimination, recognising letters etc.
  • Systematic, Synthetic Phonics - teaching pupils to recognise letters (graphemes) and their corresponding sounds (phonemes). 
  • Words First – on sight word reading and Makaton supported reading.
  • Sensory/shared story sessions – engaging pupils in a class text, using sensory resources and role play.
  • Guided reading sessions – reading in small groups or 1 to 1 with an adult.
  • Reading for pleasure – all our classrooms have a reading corner, in which pupils are encouraged to choose and explore a variety of different books/texts.


We use a reading programme called Bug Club.  This is an online reading resource, ensuring that pupils can access a range of reading materials anytime and anywhere. In school, we also have hard copies of each book, that we use in classrooms for guided reading sessions and for home reading.   Bug Club provides fiction and non-fiction texts in colour bands.  These bands are linked to each phonics phase.  Teachers will allocate sets of books for each child, depending on their reading level.


Our goal is to promote a love for reading in all of our pupils.

We also focus on the development of functional/life skills and how learning to recognise and read words or symbols in the environment, can promote independence, and support our pupils in the future.

Click on the document below to find out what reading looks like at White Ash School

English Curriculum Overview and Units

In Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, we have a wide coverage of units, ensuring that 2 narrative, 2 non-fiction and 2 poetry units are covered over the year.  These can be done in any order to link to Key Stage topics.

Please click on the link to view the units we cover:



At White Ash, we support writing skills in a variety of different ways, beginning with fine/gross motor development to formal experiences such as story writing. 

Pupils take part in daily writing opportunities that include:

  • pre-writing sessions – exploring new medias and making marks.
  • Fine motor skills development – threading, peg boards, using scissors, holding onto writing tools.
  • Tracing shapes, lines, and letter patterns.
  • Copying/writing single letters and words.
  • Writing in full sentences – using capital letters, full stops and finger spaces and developing cursive handwriting skills.


Our aim is to encourage our pupils to develop confidence and independence in their writing skills, but also to have fun and be creative.

Special Events and Dates to remember:

More information is outlined in our policies below.