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Primary English Curriculum Framework

Primary English Curriculum Framework

This curriculum framework document is based on the primary National Curriculum and the National
Literacy Strategy that have been implemented in England, but has been designed specifically for
teachers and students in the international context.
This detailed framework should facilitate the development of courses that are stimulating both for the
students and for the teachers. The knowledge and skills developed should ensure a smooth transition
from primary to secondary schooling, particularly for those who will be progressing to the Cambridge
Checkpoint scheme and then on to Cambridge qualifications such as GCE O Level or IGCSE.

The English Curriculum Framework Cambridge Primary Progression

is organised into six stages (1 to Tests are available for Stages
6): each stage reflects the 3 – 6 to help schools monitor
teaching targets for a year group student progress. The tests are
in the primary phase. The not pass/fail and do not lead to a
framework covers the first year of qualification; instead they provide
primary teaching, when students a benchmark for schools
are approximately 5 years old calibrated against an international
(stage 1), to the final year of cohort. They are designed to
primary, when students are provide information for teachers,
approximately 11 years old (stage students and parents about the
6). However, in different progress being made and the
educational contexts, it may be strengths and weaknesses of
appropriate to introduce this individuals and groups.
framework at slightly different
The curriculum framework is
divided into four strands as
shown below.
University of Cambridge
International Examinations (CIE) • Usage
produces the Cambridge – Phonics, spelling and
International Primary Achievement vocabulary
Test in English for the end of – Grammar and punctuation
primary teaching. The test is • Reading
moderated in Cambridge and
statements of achievement are • Writing
issued to students. • Speaking and Listening
Stage 1

Stage 1: Usage • Recognise and use the digraphs 'th', Stage 1: Reading
'ch', 'sh'
Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary Pupils should:
• Identify initial and final consonant
Pupils should: • Read familiar and simple stories and
clusters (e.g. bl, cr, nd, st)
• Hear, read and write initial letter poems, and relate words said and
• Begin to learn common spellings of read
long vowel phonemes (e.g. 'ee', 'ai'
• Use knowledge of sounds to read • Read a range of common words on
and write sight
• Extend vocabulary from reading
consonant–vowel–consonant words • Use knowledge of letter sounds to
• Know the names of letters of the Grammar and Punctuation read simple
alphabet and alphabetic order Pupils should: consonant–vowel–consonant words,
and to attempt other words
• Begin to use the terms 'consonant' • Notice how punctuation (e.g. full stop,
and 'vowel' in talking about letter question mark, speech marks) helps • Use all the information available to
sounds to mark out meaning make sense of what is read
• Use rhyme and relate this to spelling • Identify sentences in a text • Re-tell stories, with appropriate use of
patterns story language
• Know that a capital letter is used for
• Recognise common word endings 'I', for names and for the start of a • Learn and recite simple poems
such as 's', 'ed' and 'ing' sentence • Join in and extend rhymes and
• Identify separate sounds (phonemes) • Know that the end of a sentence is refrains, playing with language
within words, which may be marked with a full stop patterns
represented by more than one letter
• Practise blending phonemes for
reading, and segmenting phonemes
for spelling

Stage 1

• Read simple books independently Stage 1: Writing Stage 1: Speaking and

• Enjoy a range of books, discussing Pupils should: Listening
• Develop a comfortable and efficient Pupils should:
• Identify and discuss characters and pencil grip • Speak clearly and choose words
• Form letters correctly carefully
• Recognise story elements (e.g.
• Spell familiar common words • Converse with friends, teachers and
beginning, middle and end)
accurately, drawing on sight other adults
• Anticipate what happens next in a vocabulary • Contribute to discussion within a
• Use knowledge of sounds to write group
• Read labels, lists and captions to find simple regular words, and to attempt • Take turns in speaking
information other words
• Speak confidently to a group to share
• Use alphabetic order of initial letters • Compose and write a simple an experience
(e.g. to locate names and words for sentence, with a capital letter and a
spelling) • Answer questions and explain further
full stop
when asked
• Know the parts of a book (e.g. title • Write labels, captions, lists, questions
page, contents) • Listen to others and respond
and instructions for a purpose
• Read and talk about own writing • Make simple storybooks and
• Listen carefully to questions and
• Take note of full stops in reading information texts, with sentences to
aloud caption pictures
• Tell stories, recite, read aloud
• Write a sequence of sentences
retelling a familiar story or recounting
an experience
• Locate information and record
answers to questions (e.g. as lists,
Stage 2

Stage 2: Usage Grammar and Punctuation Stage 2: Reading

Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary Pupils should: Pupils should:
Pupils should: • Use knowledge of grammar in • Extend the range of common words
deciphering words and sentences recognised on sight
• Apply knowledge of phonemes
effectively in reading and spelling • Extend the use of a range of words • Apply knowledge of phonemes and
and phrases to link sentences word parts in tackling unfamiliar
• Identify syllables and split familiar
compound words into parts • Write in clear sentences using full words
stops and capital letters • Use context and sentence structure to
• Learn the different spellings of long
vowel phonemes • Develop awareness of other help establish meaning
punctuation, including speech marks • Understand time and sequence in
• Secure the spelling of high frequency
words and common irregular words • Use verbs with increasing accuracy story narratives
and use the past tense for narration • Identify and describe story settings
• Spell words with common prefixes
and suffixes (e.g. un, dis, ful, ly) • Re-read own writing for sense and and characters
accuracy • Predict story endings
• Build and use collections of
interesting and significant words • Use a variety of simple organisational • Read poems and comment on words
devices (e.g. headings, captions) and sounds, rhyme and rhythm
• Discuss the meaning of unfamiliar
words encountered in reading • Read and respond to question words • Make simple inferences from the
(e.g. what, where, when, who, why) words on the page (e.g. about
• Use question marks feelings)
• Read and follow simple instructions
(e.g. in a recipe)

Stage 2

• Locate words by initial letter in simple Stage 2: Writing • Write a list of instructions
dictionaries, glossaries and indexes • Recount events and experiences
Pupils should:
• Find answers to questions by reading • Make simple notes from a section of
• Form letters correctly and consistently
a section of text non-fiction text (e.g. listing key words)
• Practise handwriting patterns and the
• Find factual information from different • Record factual information, using
joining of letters
formats (e.g. charts, labelled simple non-fiction texts as a model
diagrams) • Spell accurately the common words
that can be read on sight
• Scan a page to find where Stage 2: Speaking and
information is located • Apply knowledge of phonemes and
spelling patterns in writing Listening
• Read simple fiction and non-fiction
independently Pupils should:
books independently
• Choose interesting words and • Show confidence in speaking to a
phrases (e.g. in describing people group
and places)
• Articulate clearly so that others can
• Find alternatives to and/then in hear
developing a narrative and
• Show awareness of the listener by
connecting ideas
including relevant details
• Use the language of time (e.g.
• Attempt to express ideas precisely,
suddenly, after that)
using a growing vocabulary
• Use the structures of familiar poems
• Begin to be aware of the use of more
and stories in developing own writing
formal vocabulary and tone of voice
• Structure a story with a beginning,
• Explain plans and ideas, extending
middle and end
them in the light of discussion
• Develop stories with a setting,
• Listen carefully and respond
characters and a sequence of events
appropriately, asking questions of
• Begin to use dialogue in stories others
• Write simple evaluations of books

Stage 3

Stage 3: Usage • Organise words or information • Ensure grammatical agreement of

alphabetically using first two letters pronouns and verbs in using
Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary
• Explore vocabulary for introducing standard English
Pupils should:
and concluding dialogue (e.g. said, • Understand pluralisation and use the
• Use effective strategies to tackle asked) terms 'singular' and 'plural'
unfamiliar words
• Generate synonyms for high • Maintain accurate use of capital
• Use analogy in working out the likely frequency words (e.g. big, little, good) letters and full stops in demarcating
spelling of words sentences
• Consider how the choice of words
• Practise new spellings and write them can heighten meaning • Use question marks, exclamation
correctly in own work marks, and commas in lists
• Infer the meaning of unknown words
• Identify mis-spelt words in own from the context • Learn the basic conventions of speech
writing and keep individual spelling punctuation and use speech marks
lists Grammar and Punctuation
• Use the apostrophe to mark omission
• Use independent spelling strategies Pupils should: in shortened words (e.g. can't, don't)
(e.g. sounding out, visual skills) • Take account of the full range of • Use a widening range of connectives
• Use a dictionary to find the spelling punctuation in reading aloud to link ideas in writing
and meaning of words • Collect example of nouns, verbs and
• Extend knowledge and use of spelling adjectives, and use the terms
patterns (e.g. vowel phonemes, appropriately
double consonants, silent letters, • Understand that verbs are necessary
common prefixes and suffixes) for meaning in a sentence
• Use and spell compound words • Develop consistency in the use of
• Explore words that have the same tenses
spelling but different meanings (e.g. • Identify pronouns and understand
form, wave [homonyms]) their function in a sentence
Stage 3

Stage 3: Reading • Locate information in non-fiction texts • Write and perform poems, attending
using contents page and index to the sound of words
Pupils should:
• Consider ways that information is set • Choose and compare words to
• Read a range of story, poetry and
out (e.g. lists, charts, bullet points) strengthen the impact of writing
information books
• Read and follow instructions to carry • Write book reviews summarising
• Sustain the reading of books with
out an activity what the book is about
• Locate books by classification and • Make a record of information drawn
• Note how text is organised in
find information using IT sources from a text (e.g. by filling a chart)
paragraphs and chapters
• Write letters, notes and messages
• Read playscripts and dialogue, with
awareness of different voices Stage 3: Writing • Use IT to write, edit and present work
• Identify different types of stories and Pupils should:
typical story themes • Ensure consistency in the size and Stage 3: Speaking and
• Read and comment on different proportion of letters and the spacing Listening
books by the same author of words
Pupils should:
• Read aloud with expression to • Practise joining letters in handwriting
• Speak clearly and confidently in a
engage the listener • Build up handwriting speed, fluency range of contexts
• Practise reading and reciting poems and legibility
• Practise to improve performance
• Consider words that make an impact • Plan main points as a structure for when reading aloud
(e.g. adjectives and powerful verbs) story writing
• Adapt tone of voice and use of
• Begin to infer meanings beyond the • Develop descriptions of settings in vocabulary for different audiences
literal (e.g. about motives and stories
• Take turns in discussion, building on
character) • Write portraits of characters what others have said
• Identify the main points or gist of • Use reading as a model for writing • Listen and respond appropriately to
what has been read dialogue other views and opinions
• Understand and use the terms 'fact', • Begin to organise writing in • Listen and remember a sequence of
'fiction' and 'non-fiction' paragraphs in extended stories instructions
• Scan a passage to find specific • Write first-person accounts and
information and answer questions descriptions based on observation
• Work out what a book is about from • Write simple playscripts, based on
skimming its main features reading
Stage 4

Stage 4: Usage • Use all the letters in sequence for Stage 4: Reading
alphabetical ordering
Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary Pupils should:
• Seek alternatives for overused words
Pupils should: • Extend the range of reading
and expressions
• Apply phonic/spelling, graphic, • Read further stories or poems by a
• Use more powerful verbs (e.g.
grammatical and contextual favourite writer, and compare them
'rushed' instead of 'went')
knowledge in reading unfamiliar • Explore the different processes of
words • Explore degrees of intensity in
adjectives (e.g. cold, tepid, warm, hot) reading silently and reading aloud
• Make use of known spellings and • Investigate how settings and
spelling patterns in all writing • Recognise meaning in figurative
language characters are built up from details
• Identify syllabic patterns in multi- • Understand the main stages in a
syllabic words Grammar and Punctuation story from introduction to resolution
• Match spelling to meaning when Pupils should: • Explore narrative order and the focus
words sound the same (e.g. • Re-read own writing to check on significant events
to/two/too, right/write [homophones]) punctuation and grammatical sense • Understand how expressive and
• Spell words with common letter • Investigate past, present and future descriptive language creates mood
strings but different pronunciations tenses of verbs • Explore the impact of imagery and
(e.g. tough, through, trough, plough)
• Identify adverbs and their impact on figurative language in poetry and
• Extend earlier work on prefixes and meaning prose
• Practise using commas to mark out • Explore implicit as well as explicit
• Collect and classify words with the meaning within sentences meanings within the text
common roots (e.g. invent, prevent)
• Learn the use of the apostrophe to • Read and perform play scripts,
• Build words from other words with show possession (e.g. girl's, girls') exploring how scenes are built up
similar meanings (e.g. medical,
• Use connectives to structure an • Compare and contrast poems and
argument (e.g. if, although) investigate poetic features
• Investigate spelling patterns;
• Identify all the punctuation marks and • Identify different types of non-fiction
generate and test rules that govern
respond to them when reading text and their features
• Investigate the grammar of different • Read newspaper reports and
• Check and correct spellings and
sentences: statements, questions and consider how they engage the reader
identify words that need to be

Stage 4

• Distinguish between 'fact' and Stage 4: Writing Stage 4: Speaking and

'opinion' in reading and other media
Pupils should: Listening
• Understand how points are ordered
• Use joined-up handwriting in all Pupils should:
to make a coherent argument
writing • Vary the use of vocabulary and level
• Investigate how persuasive writing is
• Explore different ways of planning of detail according to purpose
used to convince a reader
stories, and write longer stories from • Listen carefully in discussion,
• Note key words and phrases to plans
identify the main points in a passage contributing relevant comments and
• Explore alternative openings and questions
• Understand how paragraphs and endings for stories
chapters are used to organise ideas • Understand the gist of an account or
• Write character profiles, using detail the significant points
to capture the reader's imagination • Begin to develop ideas thoughtfully,
• Write newspaper-style reports, and convey opinions
instructions and non-chronological • Evaluate what is heard and give
reports reasons for agreement or
• Collect and present information from disagreement
non-fiction texts • Deal politely with opposing points of
• Present an explanation or a point of view
view in ordered points (e.g. in a letter) • Adapt the pace and loudness of
• Use paragraphs in writing to speaking when performing or
organise and sequence ideas reading aloud
• Explore the layout and presentation
of writing, to fit its purpose
• Make short notes from a text and use
these to aid writing
• Summarise a sentence or a
paragraph in a limited number of

Stage 5

Stage 5: Usage • Investigate ways of creating Grammar and Punctuation

opposites (e.g. 'un', 'im') and Pupils should:
Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary
comparatives (e.g. 'er', 'est')
Pupils should: • Understand conventions of standard
• Investigate patterns in the use of English (e.g. agreement of verbs)
• Use effective strategies for learning single and double consonants (e.g.
new spellings and mis-spelt words • Use pronouns making clear to what
or to whom they refer
• Use known spellings to work out the • Extend understanding of the use of
spelling of related words • Identify prepositions and use the term
adverbs to qualify verbs (e.g. in
• Investigate spelling patterns for dialogue) • Understand the difference between
pluralisation (e.g. s, es, y/ies, f/ves) direct and reported speech
• Use dictionaries efficiently and carry
• Recognise common letter strings in out IT spell checks • Learn how dialogue is set out and
words pronounced differently punctuated
• Collect synonyms and opposites and
• Investigate the meaning and spelling investigate shades of meaning • Use the comma to embed clauses
of common prefixes (e.g. auto, bi, within sentences
• Investigate the origin and appropriate
trans) use of idiomatic phrases • Place full stops correctly at the end of
• Identify word roots and derivations to complex sentences
• Discuss metaphorical expressions
support spelling (e.g. sign, signal, and figures of speech • Investigate clauses within sentences
signature) and how they are connected
• Use a thesaurus to extend vocabulary
• Spell and make correct use of and the choice of words • Explore ways of combining simple
possessive pronouns (e.g. their, sentences and re-ordering clauses
• Identify unfamiliar words, explore
theirs, my, mine) • Practise proof-reading and editing
definitions and use new words in
• Identify unstressed vowels in context writing for clarity and correctness
polysyllabic words (e.g. carpet,
• Learn spelling rules for words ending
in 'e' and 'y' (e.g. take/taking,
Stage 5

Stage 5: Reading • Note the use of persuasive devices,

words and phrases in print and other
Pupils should:
• Read widely and explore the features
• Look for information in non-fiction
of different fiction genres
texts to build on what is already
• Read and identify characteristics of known
myths, legends and fables
• Locate information confidently and
• Analyse openings and compare the efficiently from different sources
structure of different stories
• Skim-read to gain overall sense of a
• Identify the point of view from which a text and scan for specific information
story is told
• Develop note-making to extract key
• Consider how characters are points and to group and link ideas
presented, and their different
• Explore the features of texts which
recount events and experiences (e.g.
• Read poems by significant poets and diaries)
compare style, forms and themes
• Understand the use of impersonal
• Read narrative poems and perform style in explanatory texts
poems in a variety of ways
• Compare writing that informs and
• Interpret imagery, adding to persuades
understanding beyond the literal
• Read and evaluate non-fiction texts
for purpose, style, clarity and
Stage 5

Stage 5: Writing • Map out writing to plan structure (e.g. Stage 5: Speaking and
paragraphs, sections, chapters)
Pupils should: Listening
• Records ideas, reflections and
• Review, revise and edit writing in Pupils should:
predictions about books (e.g. in a
order to improve it, using IT as • Talk confidently and listen
reading log)
appropriate purposefully in a range of contexts
• Write non-chronological reports and
• Write new scenes or characters into a • Describe events and convey opinions
story, or write from another viewpoint with increasing clarity
• Evaluate own and others' writing
• Write own versions of legends, myths • Shape and organise ideas clearly
and fables, using structures from • Draft and write letters for real
purposes when speaking
• Write a commentary on an issue, • Recall and discuss important features
• Choose words and phrases carefully of a talk
to convey feeling and atmosphere setting out and justifying a personal
view • Ask questions to develop ideas and
• Use figurative language to evoke extend understanding
imaginative response
• Develop confidence in performing
• Write a playscript, including (e.g. in a play scene)
production notes to guide
• Report back to a group, using notes
to present findings about a topic
• Make notes for different purposes, studied
using simple abbreviations
• Prepare and present an argument to
• Understand the use of notes in persuade others to a point of view
writing 'in your own words'

Stage 6

Stage 6: Usage Grammar and Punctuation Stage 6: Reading

Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary Pupils should: Pupils should:
Pupils should: • Revise different word classes • Develop familiarity with the work of
• Continue to learn words, apply • Revise language conventions and established authors and poets
patterns and pursue accuracy in grammatical features of different • Discuss and express preferences in
spelling types of text terms of language, style and themes
• Further investigate spelling rules and • Explore active and passive verbs • Look for implicit as well as explicit
exceptions within sentences meanings, and make plausible
• Investigate meanings and spellings of • Investigate the use of conditionals inferences
connectives (e.g. to express possibilities) • Articulate personal responses to
• Develop knowledge of word roots, • Distinguish the main clause and reading, with close reference to the
prefixes and suffixes to support other clauses in a complex sentence text
spelling • Develop grammatical control of • Analyse the success of writing in
• Explore word origins and derivations, complex sentences, manipulating evoking particular moods (e.g.
and the use of words from other them for effect suspense)
languages • Use punctuation effectively to mark • Take account of viewpoint in a novel,
• Explore definitions and shades of out the meaning in complex and distinguish author and narrator
meaning, and use new words in sentences • Understand aspects of narrative
context • Secure accuracy in using structure such as the handling of time
• Understand changes over time in apostrophes and commas, and • Explore how poets manipulate and
words and expressions and their use punctuating speech play with words and their sounds
• Explore proverbs, sayings and • Identify uses of the colon, semi-colon, • Read and interpret poems in which
figurative expressions parenthetic commas, dashes and meanings are implied or multi-
brackets layered
• Understand the conventions of • Compare and evaluate the print and
standard English usage in different film versions of a novel or play
forms of writing
Stage 6

• Distinguish between fact and opinion Stage 6: Writing Stage 6: Speaking and
in a range of texts and other media
Pupils should: Listening
• Explore autobiography and
• Use different genres as models for Pupils should:
biography, and first and third person
writing • Vary vocabulary, expression and tone
• Plan plot, characters and structure of voice to engage the listener
• Analyse how paragraphs and
effectively in writing an extended • Pay close attention in discussion to
chapters are structured and linked
story what others say
• Compare the language, style and
• Develop skills of writing biography, • Extend and follow up ideas, asking
impact of a range of non-fiction
and autobiography in role and answering questions thoughtfully
• Use the styles and conventions of • Help to move group discussion
• Recognise key characteristics of non-
journalism to write reports on events forward (e.g. by clarifying,
chronological report writing
• Write non-chronological reports summarising)
• Identify features of balanced written
linked to work in other subjects • Speak confidently in formal and
• Summarise a passage, chapter or informal contexts
text in a given number of words • Prepare, practise and improve a
• Argue a case in writing, developing spoken presentation or performance
points logically and convincingly • Use spoken language well to
• Write a balanced report of a persuade, instruct or make a case
controversial issue (e.g. in a debate)
• Select appropriate non-fiction style • Reflect on variations in speech, and
and form to suit specific purposes appropriate use of standard English
• Use paragraphs, sequencing and
linking them appropriately, in fiction
and non-fiction writing
• Use IT effectively to prepare and
present writing for publication
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