Primary English – Years 5 & 6 syllabus


Word reading – students should be taught to:

  • Apply their growing knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes (morphology and etymology), as listed in English appendix 1, both to read aloud and to understand the meaning of new words that they meet

Comprehension – students should be taught to:

  • Maintain positive attitudes to reading and an understanding of what they read
  • Continue to read and discuss an increasingly wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks
  • Read books that are structured in different ways and reading for a range of purposes
  • Increase their familiarity with a wide range of books, including myths, legends and traditional stories, modern fiction, fiction from our literary heritage, and books from other cultures and traditions
  • Recommend books that they have read to their peers, giving reasons for their choices
  • Identify and discussing themes and conventions in and across a wide range of writing
  • Make comparisons within and across books
  • Learn a wider range of poetry by heart
  • Prepare poems and plays to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone and volume so that the meaning is clear to an audience
  • Understand what they read
  • Check that the book makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context
  • Ask questions to improve their understanding
  • Draw inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence
  • predicting what might happen from details stated and implied
  • Summarise the main ideas drawn from more than 1 paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas
  • Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning
  • Discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader
  • Distinguish between statements of fact and opinion
  • Retrieve, record and present information from non-fiction
  • Participate in discussions about books that are read to them and those they can read for themselves, building on their own and others’ ideas and challenging views courteously
  • Explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary
  • Provide reasoned justifications for their views


Spelling – 
see English appendix 1 students should be taught to:

  • Use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them
  • Spell some words with ‘silent’ letters (for example, knight, psalm, solemn)
  • Continue to distinguish between homophones and other words which are often confused
  • Use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling and understand that the spelling of some words needs to be learnt specifically, as listed in English appendix 1
  • Use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words
  • Use the first 3 or 4 letters of a word to check spelling, meaning or both of these in a dictionary
  • Use a thesaurus

Handwriting and presentation – students should be taught to:

  • Write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed
  • Choose which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether or not to join specific letters
  • Choose the writing implement that is best suited for a task

Composition – students should be taught to:

  • Plan their writing
  • Identify the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using other similar writing as models for their own
  • Note and develop initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary
  • In writing narratives, consider how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed
  • Draft and write
  • Select appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
  • In narratives, describe settings, characters and atmosphere and integrate dialogue to convey character and advance the action
  • Précise longer passages
  • Use a wide range of devices to build cohesion within and across paragraphs
  • Use further organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader (for example, headings, bullet points, underlining)
  • Evaluate and edit
  • Assess the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing
  • Propose changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning
  • Ensure the consistent and correct use of tense throughout a piece of writing
  • Ensure correct subject and verb agreement when using singular and plural, distinguishing between the language of speech and writing and choosing the appropriate register
  • Proofread for spelling and punctuation errors
  • Perform their own compositions, using appropriate intonation, volume, and movement so that meaning is clear

Vocabulary, grammar and punctuation – students should be taught to:

  • Develop their understanding of the concepts set out in English appendix 2
  • Recogne vocabulary and structures that are appropriate for formal speech and writing, including subjunctive forms
  • Use passive verbs to affect the presentation of information in a sentence
  • Use the perfect form of verbs to mark relationships of time and cause
  • Use expanded noun phrases to convey complicated information concisely
  • Use modal verbs or adverbs to indicate degrees of possibility
  • Use relative clauses beginning with who, which, where, when, whose, that or with an implied (ie. omitted) relative pronoun
  • Learn the grammar for Years 5 and 6 in English appendix 2
  • Indicate grammatical and other features
  • Use commas to clarify meaning or avoid ambiguity in writing
  • Use hyphens to avoid ambiguity
  • Use brackets, dashes or commas to indicate parenthesis
  • Use semicolons, colons or dashes to mark boundaries between independent clauses
  • Use a colon to introduce a list
  • Punctuate bullet points consistently
  • Use and understand the grammatical terminology in English appendix 2 accurately and appropriately in discussing their writing and reading