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Spelling at St Mary’s


ELS Spelling

Following on from our Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) phonics programme, children in Year 2 follow ELS Essential Spelling.


ELS Essential Spelling is a whole-class spelling programme taught as three sessions each week. The scheme covers all the statutory statements in the National Curriculum for Year 2. This includes:

  • Specific code (spellings)
  • Suffixes
  • Homophones
  • Apostrophes for possession and contraction
  • Common words




From Years 3-6, we use ESSENTIALspelling, which is a resource from Herts for Learning. It focuses on the teaching of spelling so that children understand how to apply patterns, strategies and knowledge to other words and not just a list of words given for that week. It also provides links to prior knowledge and tracks back to related objectives. The resource encourages children to consider, “What do we already know that might help us to spell words in this sequence?” Sessions allow teachers an opportunity for assessment for learning and gives pupils the chance to build connections between existing knowledge and new knowledge.

Assessment and tracking

We use the Single Word Spelling Test (SWST) termly to inform us of each child's spelling age from years 1-6 (Year 1 begin this in the Spring term). This data informs our teaching and interventions required in each class. Interventions may include ELS Phonics, Precision Teaching, Individualised Literacy Intervention (ILI) and Spelling Detectives.