Curriculum Vital

There's no 'i' in 'grapheme-phoneme correspondence,' but there is in 'split digraph': Spelling in the new National Curriculum

(Lisa is preparing for her Spelling Bee.)
Marge: Remember, honey, 'i' before 'e', except after 'c'.
Lisa: Except when pronounced 'eh', as in 'neighbour' and 'weigh.'
Marge: Really? Well how about 'Jim Nabors is way cool'?
Lisa: Well how often is that going to come up?
Marge: It's on my apron. (Gestures to the apron she is wearing, which features a picture of a smiling Jim Nabors above the caption 'Jim Nabors Is Way Cool'.)

The Simpsons, episode EABF07: 'I'm spelling as fast as I can!'

Yes, spelling in English has long been fiendishly difficult. What with all those double consonants and bizarre phonemes, it's a wonder we don't all just revert to text speak. No wat i meen?

In attempt to part the clouds of confusion, Michael Gove has, as it were, spelt out exactly what kids need to be able to spell and when. Beginning in the new Lower Key Stage 2 (years three and four), students will have to be able to spell a list of prescribed words. Below, we present the list and the best new resources to help you manage.

Key Stage 1

Lower Key Stage 2 (years three and four)

Statutory word list

accident(ally)

actual(ly)

address

answer

appear

arrive

believe

bicycle

breath

breathe

build

busy/business

calendar

caught

centre

century

certain

circle

continue

complete

consider

decide

describe

different

difficult

disappear

early

earth

eight/eighth

enough

exercise

experience

experiment

extreme

famous

favourite

February

forward(s)

fruit

grammar

group

guard

guide

heard

heart

height

history

imagine

increase

important

interest

island

knowledge

learn

length

library

material

medicine

mention

minute

natural

naughty

notice

occasion(ally)

often

opposite

ordinary

particular

 

peculiar

perhaps

popular

position

possess(ion)

possible

potatoes

pressure

probably

promise

purpose

quarter

question

recent

regular

reign

remember

sentence

separate

special

straight

strange

strength

suppose

surprise

therefore

though / although

thought

through

various

weight

woman / women

 

Related resources

Upper Key Stage 2 (years five and six)

Statutory word list

accommodate

accompany

according

achieve

aggressive

amateur

ancient

apparent

appreciate

attached

available

average

awkward

bargain

bruise

category

cemetery

committee

communicate

community

competition

conscience

conscious

controversy

convenience

correspond

criticise (critic + ise)

curiosity

definite

desperate

determined

develop

dictionary

 

disastrous

embarrass

environment

equip (–ped, –

ment)

especially

exaggerate

excellent

existence

explanation

familiar

foreign

forty

frequently

government

guarantee

harass

 

hindrance

identity

immediate(ly)

individual

interfere

interrupt

language

leisure

lightning  

marvellous

mischievous

muscle

necessary  

neighbour

nuisance

occupy

occur

opportunity

parliament

persuade

physical

prejudice

privilege

profession

programme  

pronunciation

queue

recognise

recommend  

relevant

restaurant

rhyme

rhythm

sacrifice

 

secretary

shoulder

signature

sincere(ly)

soldier

stomach

sufficient

suggest

symbol

system

temperature

thorough

twelfth

variety

vegetable

vehicle

yacht

 

Related resources

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 poetry