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Believe: Shine as a light (Philippians 2:12)
Belong: Walk in the light (John 12:35)
Aspire: Let your light shine (Matthew 5:16)

Courage Compassion Curiosity

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Reading Intent

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum, a crucial part of our daily experience and is essential for developing educational and social progress. It is our vision to ensure every child achieves their full potential to become confident, enthusiastic readers and diverse, understanding members of society. As inspiring role models of literature, it is our intention to nurture a love of reading, to immerse children in high quality texts, and to develop a thirst for discovery. We strive to cultivate a community with strong abilities in both the spoken and written word, therefore the acquisition of language and vocabulary is of the utmost importance and underpins our regular meaningful discussions and explicit teaching of reading skills.


How do we teach your children to read and write?

Every child deserves success right from the start. We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. This is why we put reading at the heart of what we do.


We use a teaching programme called Read Write Inc. Phonics to teach our children to read and write. We make sure every child can read the last set of phonic stories before they progress to our higher level programmes - Literacy and Language, and Spelling. Some children complete the programme in Year 1 and others in Year 2. Year 3 and 4 children who need extra support follow this programme too.


During this time, we group children by their reading progress for one hour a day (20 to 45 minutes in Reception) and re-assess children every half-term so we can place them in the group where they’ll make the most progress. We provide extra daily one-to-one sessions for children who need a bit of a boost to keep up.


How do we get children to remember what we teach them?

It’s much easier teaching one child – we can get them to repeat what they have understood in their own words, step by step. Then, if they haven’t understood, we can try different words and explanations.  So, in order to replicate this back and forth dialogue with a group or class, we use partner work. Children answer every question with a partner, the teacher checks what they know and only moves on when they understand. It means that all children stay focused throughout the lesson. Partner talk is fundamental to the success of our school.  We use, ‘Turn to your partner’ in every lesson throughout the day.

Book Talk

Each child receives quality reading lessons each week to develop specific reading skills, including fluency and confidence when reading aloud. This is delivered through our Book Talk Jane Considine's Reading Rainbow.




How do we teach children to spell confidently?

We use just two simple activities: Fred Fingers to spell regular words and Red Rhythms for tricky words.



We teach children to spell using ‘Fred Fingers’: we say a word and then children pinch the sounds onto their fingers and write the word, sound by sound.



We teach tricky words with Red Rhythms. We say the tricky letters in a puzzled or annoyed voice and build the letter names up into a rhythm, for example, s-ai-d.

Children learn to spell new words and review past words every week, they practise spelling them with a partner and – when they’re ready – we give them a test to celebrate their spelling success.


How do we make writing simple for children to learn?

We teach handwriting, spelling and composition separately, gradually bringing each skill together step-by-step.


We teach children to form letters with the correct pencil grip and in the correct sitting position from the very beginning. They practise handwriting every day so they learn to write quickly and easily.


Once children can write simple words, we teach them to ‘hold’ a sentence in their heads and then write it with correct spelling and punctuation.


Very soon children are able to write down their own ideas. We try out different sentences together, drawing on new vocabulary and phrases from the storybook they’ve just read.  They practise saying their sentences out loud first so they don’t forget their ideas while they’re writing.  They also learn to proofread their own writing using ready-made sentences containing common grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.


In Years 2-6 we follow the No Nonsense spelling scheme.  Children quiz every spelling session. Teachers may choose to use staff, self or peer quizzes in their spelling journals. Teachers quiz rules that have been taught previously, going over them again and again, following a period of forgetting.


Children take 7 words home each week and convert the words into sentences in their homework books. Children then have to know or find out the definition of the word to write it into the sentence. This also helps application in writing.


The 7 words children will take home – 3 are based on the learning that week, 1 is a word based on a rule taught previously and 3 are common exception/statutory words. Children are then be tested on these words informally every spelling session to ensure transfer into the long term memory.


Children  have an error analysis sheet, used in conjunction with their independent writing.


Children have spelling journals. This is where they will do all of their spelling practise during the sessions. They have a ‘Have a Go’ sheet or ‘My Try’ to use when independent writing.


Children are tested on 20 words at the end of the half term. Teachers may choose to look at rules from previous year groups to test as well. Teachers can set these words based on what they feel they need to test.


How can you help at home?

First of all, come to our meetings. We hold these to give parents and carers practical advice about how you can help. 


We appreciate you’re busy but here are two things that will make the biggest difference to your child’s progress.


Every night:
1. Read a bedtime story to your child.
Your child will bring home lovely library books from school. Read bedtime stories to your child – don’t ask them to read the story themselves as this is beyond their current reading stage. There is some really good advice about how to make bedtime storytime fun on

2. Listen to your child read the storybook we send home.
Your child will bring home a book they have just finished reading in their group. They will be able to read this book confidently because they have already read it two or three times. Please do not say “This book is too easy!” Praise your child for how well they read it – celebrate what a great reader they are.  They’ll sometimes bring home previous stories they have read too. Re-reading stories develops their fluency on every reading. There’s more good advice on how to listen to your child read on

Writing Intent

To enable all children to find their voice by equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to express themselves clearly and accurately through spoken and written language. We expose our learners to a variety of stimuli and experiences so that they can build confidence and showcase their imaginations and abilities through a range of writing styles. Children always start writing through the exploration of high-quality texts. This is underpinned by explicit vocabulary teaching, grammar, punctuation and sentence level work. From initial mark-making to precise text shaping, our children become authors by writing with both audience and purpose in mind. 


The Writing Process

It is expected that children will be given as many opportunities as possible to use and apply their writing skills across all text types and across the whole curriculum. Teachers plan for this accordingly using The Stour Federation's Writing Process.



Vocabulary underpins our curriculum and it is at the heart of every subject we teach. Although we recognise that reading is invaluable for learning new language, we cannot assume that the more words you read, the more words you know. In The Stour Federation, we teach vocabulary explicitly and then revisit and revise words learned. This way, the children know the words in depth - meaning that they can use them in a variety of contexts, in writing, speaking and reading. 


Every year, we subscribe to No More Marking, an online Comparative Judgement system, which allows our staff to collaborate with thousands of other schools in judging writing from years 1-6. By uploading and assessing our children's writing in six national judging windows, we are able to get whole-school and nationally benchmarked data, allowing us to save time, support progression and intervention planning and tailor feedback. With all our teachers and teaching assistants knowing what good quality writing looks like across the school, we have high expectations and a shared understanding of next steps.