Curriculum Vital

Tread softly because you tread on Michael Gove's dreams
Poetry in the new primary English programme of study

March was the cruellest month for Michael Gove as his first curriculum draft was largely canned by the critics. One part, however, was roundly praised and has remained intact - poetry. Memorising and reciting are prevalent in all parts of the new National Curriculum, with poetry taking centre stage in English. From year one onwards children will have to learn and recite poems by heart while recognising and discussing different poetic forms (though given the new emphasis on grammar and punctuation we can assume that ee cummings will be nowhere in sight).

Below, we list the new statutory requirements and the best resources to deal with them:

Key Stage 1

National Curriculum programme of study (statutory requirements)

Pupils should be taught to develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

  • listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
  • learning to appreciate rhymes and poems, and recite some by heart

Lower Key Stage 2

National Curriculum programme of study (statutory requirements)

Pupils should be taught to develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:

  • listening to, discussing and expressing views about a wide range of poetry (including contemporary and classic), stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
  • recognising simple recurring literary language in stories and poetry
  • continuing to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear

Upper Key Stage 2

National Curriculum programme of study (statutory requirements)

Pupils should be taught to develop positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by:

  • listening to and discussing a wide range of fiction, poetry, plays, non-fiction and reference books or textbooks
  • preparing poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
  • recognising some different forms of poetry (e.g. free verse, narrative poetry)

Related articles

The new National Curriculum in England: Key Stages 1-2 English grammar and punctuation

The new National Curriculum in England: Key Stages 1-2 English spelling

The new National Curriculum in England: Key Stage 3 English

The new National Curriculum in England: Key Stage 4 English literature

English lesson plans and resources