This chapter reflects on our principles and beliefs about the teaching of English. It considers what we mean by literacy, and what experiences of literacy children need to ensure success in English. English is complex and encompasses a broad array of knowledge, skills and understanding. There is widespread agreement that it is a difficult subject to define. Effective English subject leadership will require we to think about definitions of language use and their place in English teaching. There is no fixed definition of literacy, but it is a term that is often used in place of 'English' within the context of primary English. In most schools, what constitutes English knowledge for the pupils we teach is a matter determined at government level through political policy. Debate continues between those who view English as a functional 'means to an end', and those who view the subject as a means of developing 'personal response' and knowledge of language, based on literacy experiences.