English at Shibden Head Primary Academy is taught discretely in English lessons, guided reading and phonics and spelling lessons. Skills in English are further developed within the wider curriculum. Many of the texts that we use link to curriculum themes that we are studying throughout the year.


Speaking and Listening

Throughout the school opportunities to develop pupil’s spoken language in a range of contexts underpins the development of reading and writing. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to communicate their ideas and feelings. They are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.  Pupils develop their ability to explain their understanding of books and other reading materials, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are encouraged to discuss their ideas in order to make sense of their learning.

We regularly hold assemblies, nativities and productions in which children are encouraged to take part in varied roles. Poetry recitals are included regularly in our practice and often performed to others.


The importance of early reading, our approach to teaching phonics

At Shibden Head, all children in reception and Key Stage 1 follow the DFE Letters and Sound programmes, along with additional resources such as phonics play, Espresso and Read Write Inc. letter formation.

Phonics is the method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and their symbols (graphemes). Children are introduced to ‘single sounds’ such as /p/, /o/ and practise recognising them, writing them and ‘blending’ them. ‘Blending‘ is the ability to combine sounds together in order to create a word. Teaching staff ensure all phonemes are pronounced purely, without an additional ‘uh’ on the end of each sound – known as ‘schwa‘ – which can potentially confuse children when combining the sounds together into words, for example:

/p/ /o/ /t/ = pot        (correct)
/puh/ /o/ /tuh/ = puhotuh      (incorrect)

Children are then exposed to more complex phonemes such as ‘ay’ in ‘stay’ and ‘ee’ in ‘see’.  Pupils are taught that these sounds are called ‘digraphs‘ because ‘two letters represent one sound’, or ‘trigraphs‘ when ‘three letters make one sound’ such as /air/ in ‘fair’. In order to help children decode each word, dots (for single sounds) and dashes (for digraphs and trigraphs) are marked under words.

The ‘Phonics Screening Check’ is taken individually by all children in Year 1 and is designed to give feedback to teachers and parents on how each child is progressing in Phonics. Pupils are asked to read 20 real words and 20 pseudo words, known to the children as ‘alien words’, in order to ensure children are decoding the words instead of memorising or guessing. ‘Alien words’ are introduced to children in Reception.

Children who do not pass the phonics test in Year 1 will continue with appropriate phonics provision in year 2 (and year 3 if necessary).



Comprehension skills are developed in guided reading sessions through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction within English lessons. Within guided reading and English, children read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.

How our reading books are organised

Our book banding system is arranged in colours, see below:

Book Banding System


Where needed, children will be given appropriate phonics books to help develop segmenting and blending skills. In the early stages of reading, the books are linked to the child’s phonic knowledge.

Every child is taken to the school library once a week to choose a book to take home and share, this begins in reception through to Year 6.


In Years 2 – 6, we follow the no-nonsense spelling framework. Each child is given a list of spellings and then within lessons we teach strategies on how to learn them. We encourage children to edit their own work and make improvements using green pen.

Writing at Shibden Head Primary Academy


It is our intent at Shibden Head Primary Academy to provide pupils with a high-quality education in English that will teach pupils to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others effectively. Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum – with vocabulary being a key focus.

With regards to writing, we intend for pupils to be able to plan and write, with opportunities to edit and improve their writing through the use of green pen. To be able to do this effectively, we provide pupils with a high quality text and base writing tasks purposely around the text that they are studying (the texts also link to the foundation subject focus during that half term). Children also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and apply an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar in their writing. We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent, legible handwriting.

With regards to spelling, younger pupils apply their phonic knowledge and skills in their writing. As they move through school, pupils learn about the relationships between words, how to understand words and their meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. We teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning so that they can apply this in their own writing. Pupils learn how to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English.

On the whole, our aim is to ensure a consistent writing approach in school to enable children to know more, remember more and understand more. We deliver the Learning Challenge curriculum with an aim to link the writing to the skills that the children have been taught in their English lessons.


  • Daily English lessons across school and daily phonics lessons in reception and key stage 1 (also for children who require this in Key Stage 2).
  • High quality texts that writing and reading is based and planned around – see long term text plan
  • Babcock ‘no nonsense spellings’ from year 2 upwards – practised in English books and tested on a weekly basis.
  • Phonics taught daily in reception and key stage 1
  • Handwriting books in key stage 1 and lower key stage 2
  • SPAG is taught within English lessons through texts although in upper key stage 2 discrete SPAG lessons are also taught (SPAG books are used for this)
  • Staff meetings are given for writing development as and when needed.
  • Goldilocks words are used within Key Stage 1 and Lower Key Stage 2 and tiered words are used in upper Key Stage 2 to develop the use and understanding of vocabulary
  • Bookmarks are used by the children that correlate to their writing assessment criteria from year 1 – 6.
  • We aim to provide instant feedback and give children 1:1 conferencing opportunities on more sustained pieces.
  • Editing flaps are used in KS2 for improving sections of writing
  • Highlighting is used in key Stage1 and lower Key stage 2 (mainly year 3) for improving.
  • Spellings are set and marked weekly based on the national curriculum.
  • Spelling frame is used as an extra aid to learning in Year 6.
  • We follow a long term English text plan that links, as much as it can, to our topic work
  • We have made links with our local high school who we aim to work with upper key stage 2 towards the end of the year on some Shakespeare and classic English work
  • We use Alison Phillipson writing assessment grids to moderate our writing – which we do in house and at trust moderations, Great Heights (local cluster) moderations and we also have a local authority moderator at our school (Lucy Shaw)
  • We all attend English – IPOPS (improving pupil outcomes) training sessions every year within our Trust.


  • Children make good progress from their starting points
  • Outcomes at the end of key stage 1 and key stage 2 are above national percentages
  • Children take pride in their work and write for a range of audiences and purposes
  • Children apply knowledge and skills when writing across the curriculum
  • Children are well-prepared for the next stage of their education

       Areas for intended further impact:

  • Improve our GD writers at the end of Key Stage 2
  • Improve spelling results at the end of Key Stage 2
  • To keep results for writing broadly in line (if not exceeding) national expectations at the end of each key stage.
  • To improve vocabulary knowledge and understanding in preparation for the children’s future.

Writing progression

SPAG progression

Year 1 bookmark

Year 2 bookmark

Year 3 bookmark

Year 4 bookmark

Year 5 bookmark

Year 6 bookmark

Writing Grids Below

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Long Term Plans for texts

Phonics Policy Jan 2020

PHONICS Intent statement Jan 2020

Writing intent statement Jan 2020

Year 6[1]  Year 6 Writing Assessment Grid

Year 5[1]  Year 5 Writing Assessment Grid

Year 4[1]  Year 4 Writing Assessment Grid

Year 3[1]  Year 3 Writing Assessment Grid

Year 2[1] Year 2 Writing Assessment Grid

Year 1[1] Year 1 writing progression


Reading Intent, Impact & Impact statement 2020

Reading progression document Jan 2020

SPAG prog

writing progression