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Revised edition of English Skills

20 March 2017

Revised edition of English Skills

Now fully updated to meet the spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary requirements of the new Key Stage 2 English curriculum, the updated English Skills series also includes a new Introductory Book covering topics from the Key Stage 1 programmes of study.

English Skills is the sister series to Schofield & Sims Mental Arithmetic and, as with the recent revision to that series, the new English Skills books have undergone noticeable changes to both design and content in order to make them as up-to-date and user-friendly as possible.

In terms of aesthetic changes, the series has been completely redesigned to better match the appearance of Mental Arithmetic and provide an improved learning experience for pupils. The books also feature a brand new cover design by celebrated illustrator Peter Grundy, who was also responsible for the iconic new Mental Arithmetic cover design.

Areas where there have been significant changes to the content of the English Skills pupil books, include:

  • Spelling and vocabulary: Spelling and vocabulary from the Appendix 1: Spelling in the National Curriculum is now revised throughout the series, including in the Proofreading tasks. This includes both the specific spelling patterns and the use of vocabulary from the word lists provided in the Appendix.
  • Terminology: There have been extensive revisions to the grammar and punctuation terminology in both the questions and glossaries to ensure that pupils are immersed in the language of the new curriculum and have access to clear definitions of technical vocabulary. Examples of changes made include the replacement of ‘connective’ with ‘conjunction’, the removal of the term ‘future tense’ and the introduction of new terms such as ‘adverbial’, ‘fronted adverbial’, ‘cohesion’ and ‘determiner’.
  • Moved content: Some content has been moved between books in order to better reflect the progression in the Key Stage 2 programmes of study. For example, relative clauses are introduced in Year 5 in the new curriculum but were previously covered in English Skills 3 (aimed at pupils in Year 4) so the topic is now introduced for the first time in English Skills 4 (aimed at pupil in Year 5). The books now align closely with the end-of-year expectations in the National Curriculum as outlined below:

English Skills Introductory Book – Years 2 and 3 (transition book)
English Skills 1 – Year 3
English Skills 2 – Year 4
English Skills 3 – Years 4 and 5 (transition book)
English Skills 4 – Year 5
English Skills 5 – Year 6
English Skills 6 – Years 6 and 7 (transition book)

  • New content: A number of new topic areas were introduced with the new curriculum and new questions have been added to the English Skills book to reflect this, including exercises on the perfect form of verbs (Year 3), determiners (Year 4) and subjunctive (Year 6). In addition, a new introductory book has been added to the bottom of the series to serve as a bridge between Key Stage 1 and 2. This new book revises topics from the Key Stage 1 curriculum and is suitable for use with children nearing the end of Key Stage 1 or as part of a catch-up programme at the beginning of Key Stage 2.

Changes have also been made to the Mental Arithmetic Teacher’s Guide, including the addition of a Diagnostic check for each pupil book with supporting Activity prompts to help you identify and address specific areas of weakness. Further changes to the Teacher's Guide include a reduction in the number of Entry tests from five to just two, making it easier to select the appropriate book for each pupil, several new photocopiable General resources, including a Word class wheel, Sentence trail activity and the Dictionary work resource, and an updated Glossary featuring all of the vocabulary from the individual pupil book glossaries.


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