What does English look like at Highweek?
Reading intent for Highweek Primary School
A reader from Highweek Primary School will develop a love of reading from an early age, which is nurtured by their teachers and their school setting. A reading for pleasure ethos is established throughout the school, and embedded in the language used by adults when talking about reading. To promote this, daily book talk is encouraged. Children will have access to a range of quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry, which celebrates heritage authors, modern authors, black authors and female authors. Reading is recognised as central to all learning, so children will be able to read to an age appropriate level in order to underpin their learning across the curriculum as well as for pleasure. Age appropriate skills for fluency and comprehension are taught throughout the school, and challenge is provided to all pupils. Teachers take responsibility for equipping the children with strategies to be confident and independent readers. This is enabled by a sequential and rigorous approach to reading: Read, Write, Inc. phonics and reciprocal reading throughout the school. Every child accesses books to build their bank of language and vocabulary as well as their understanding of the world. Children who are falling behind in their reading attainment are identified and supported through targeted phonics, comprehension and fluency intervention.
Exciting books and literature is available to the children in the library and classroom book areas with a range of genres available. The book areas are inviting and updated frequently.
In Key Stage 1 and EYFS, phonic books (RWI) are matched to a child’s decodable level and support children in practising their phonic sounds. These are taken home weekly, and parents are coached to support their children in reading them at home.
Children are read to daily by their teachers. We have a carefully designed reading spine to expose them to a range of exciting literature throughout their time at Highweek.
Read for pleasure
Children are given scheduled weekly sessions where they can read their book. The emphasis is on reading for pleasure, with the books closely matched to their ability using the Accelerated Reader programme. Parents are invited to come into school for a ‘Come Read with Me’ session each half-term.
Throughout Black History Month, the children read texts daily which celebrate prominent and inspirational figures in black history and books written by black authors. Within the reading spine, books cover a range of social issues, SEND and LGBTQ+ representation. We celebrate authors from different backgrounds and find books in which children can see themselves represented.
Highweek Primary School mark National Poetry Day by celebrating a whole school Poetry Week. Children explore heritage and modern poetry, have visits from poets and work towards writing and performing poetry before sharing their work with the rest of the school in an ‘exhibition’. The Poetry Basket is used to teach poetry in EYFS. Throughout Key stages one and two, poetry is taught through Literacy teaching sequences and guided reading.
Reciprocal reading is used throughout the school as the teaching method for reading comprehension. A wide range of texts are interrogated by children through the four key skills: summarising, questioning, predicting and clarifying. Children are supported by adults who facilitate the group led sessions; children are encouraged to become active rather than passive readers.
Fluency forms part of the Guided Reading lesson and the focus becomes fluency during ‘Fluency Friday’. Children take part in readers theatre and other activities which focus on their reading fluency and ability to read aloud with expression. This is recognised as essential in supporting their comprehension skills.
Whole school reading events & role models
Whole school events are celebrated to give reading a high status, encourage parental engagement and enthusiasm around reading. These events include Black History Month, World Book Day, Shakespeare Week, Storytelling Week, Poetry Week and Roald Dahl Day. Each week, year 5&6 children read to KS1 children in an event called ‘Surprise Reader’.
Research and assessment
Research in reading is up to date and relevant to influence evidence-based reading initiatives which are introduced to the school. The EEF guidance for reading is revisited amongst staff, and internal research is carried out. Assessment for reading is ongoing through assessment for learning and assessment of learning.
The school focuses on the teaching of tier 2 vocabulary to equip children with an academic and exciting bank of language which is transferrable. There is a core list of tier 2 vocabulary which runs through the school. Vocabulary is celebrated and shared in classrooms and on ‘word of the week’ signs on the door. A weekly vocabulary lesson is taught in classes.
Texts across the wider curriculum
Library books provide robust literature to support curriculum subjects. Children have access to a range of non-fiction books which support the topics which they are studying. Good quality texts are central to teaching sequences in Literacy and are taught to suit the cohort of children. A range of texts including fiction, non-fiction and poetry are used in guided reading.
Through fidelity to our systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme, Read, Write, Inc., our aim is that children will be fluent readers by the end of KS1. Fluency is a priority continued throughout the school, with additional focus on comprehension through the reciprocal reading method. The priority is that children are enthusiastic and confident readers, but progress is also measured through a range of assessment methods:
Phonics screening test
PIRA comprehension assessments (Year 2 onwards)
Collins fluency assessments
Accelerated reader star reader test
Past (mock) SATs papers (Year 2&6 only)
Writing intent for Highweek Primary School
A writer from Highweek Primary School will be able to use rich vocabulary to write creatively in a range of genres and for a range of purposes. They will mature in the choices they make about writing for different readers, and using a variety of voices. Children will develop their own writing style and be inspired by exciting texts and authors. Children will have opportunities to have immersive and inspiring Literacy experiences, which provide hooks to learning and promote engagement. Children from Highweek recognise the creativity and curiosity needed for successful writing, and the teachers plan with the aim of developing these skills. Teaching will also be planned to develop the cumulative Literacy skills and knowledge that children have, building on previous year groups to contribute to their experience of styles, genres and writing techniques. Teachers plan using a whole school sequence approach to teaching, considering the stages in learning mapped out using an ‘S’ plan. Teaching texts are carefully chosen for the cohort, and planned to enthuse the children.
Teaching sequences are planned thoroughly where the journey of learning is clear using ‘S plans’. Opportunities for imitate, innovate and invent writing are thought out and sequential. The focus is on the children building the skills needed to write successfully independently.
Oracy for writing
Ample activities to encourage oracy around writing and books are utilised within the Literacy teaching sequence. Children become confident in their oracy, and this supports in learning the text style so they are able to take on the voice of the author.
Each piece of writing will have a ‘purpose’ or clear exit point/ writing outcome. All of the teaching will be steered towards producing this, and the children are aware that there is a purpose to their writing. It may be part of an exhibition, a story book to share with younger children, to be published on the website or sent to an author.
Each half-term, a final piece of writing or big write is copied on to the working walls. Each child’s writing is clearly visible, and it is celebrated with the class teacher and any adult who enters the room. Over time, writing progress is evident, and children can reflect on their own writing journey.
Feedback in writing is planned before the sequence commences, ensuring purposeful opportunities for feedback is given before the final outcome. Feedback in writing includes informal verbal teacher feedback, teacher conferencing, peer conferencing and self-evaluation.
A rich variety of teaching texts are used and are bespoke to the cohort. Teachers are aware of focusing on gender and disadvantage gaps. A whole school progression document demonstrates that across their time at school, children are exposed to diversity in their genres and teaching texts.
All writing sequences begin with a thoughtfully devised ‘hook’ to writing. Hooks can range from role-play, using objects, theme days and more. They are designed by teachers to engage children with a memorable start to the unit.
Carefully considered whole school writing opportunities elevate the status of writing within the school. They include an exciting range of internal and external writing competitions and challenges and themed writing events in school such as Poetry Week.
Focused lesson starters
Throughout the school, each Literacy lesson begins with a grammar starter where the emphasis is on the composition of sentences from the teaching text. Children can fix a sentence, recognise features, upgrade and innovate sentences. Each day, the children learn an extra sentence type and these are cumulatively added to the working wall, forming a bank of co-constructed sentence types on the working wall.
From Year 2, No Nonsense Spelling is the programme used for the teaching of spellings. It is taught in discrete spelling sessions. ‘Beat your best’ spellings are sent home weekly, and children are tested on the statutory words. The statutory words and spelling rules are taught within school. Children are encouraged to edit their work, checking for spellings, using green pen.
The Babcock No Nonsense Grammar scheme is followed from Years 2-6 to ensure clear and effective progression and consistency in teaching strategies. Grammar is taught through the Literacy and within daily discrete ‘Superskills’ lessons. Children are encouraged and given time to edit their writing for grammar and punctuation, using green pen. This is modelled by their teacher.
Handwriting is seen as a functional tool within the writing process, and is taught explicitly through teacher modelling in handwriting lessons. Children can earn their pen licence in Key Stage 2 following consistently joined and legible handwriting. Presentation is awarded within the ‘4P’ rewards. Examples of work with excellent handwriting are displayed outside classroom doors.
Progress and attainment in writing is monitored and celebrated throughout the year. The writing progress wall is updated half-termly, and teachers assess each piece of writing using the Babcock EGG grids. Children who are yet to meet all of the age-related objectives on the EGG will be targeted by their teachers. Throughout the year, opportunities are utilised for peer moderation of writing. Exemplification materials are used to support moderation judgements. After each end of unit independent write, teachers give the children a target. Children are aware of their targets and are keen to achieve them.