English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
English, in many ways, is the most important subject because it unlocks pupils’ creativity and the whole of the rest of the curriculum. We aim to provide an English curriculum which enables pupils to read a wide variety of texts and gives them the power and enjoyment to continue reading and researching into the future. The base of the reading and spelling curriculum is systematic teaching of phonics. There are increasing chances for pupils to develop skills of reading comprehension as they progress through school once they are secure in decoding words. In most lessons speaking and listening are key facets of learning where pupils can rehearse what they are going to write and discuss in depth what they have read.