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StamfordhamPrimary School

‘Learning, Caring and Achieving Together’
‘Learning, Caring and Achieving Together’




We have a particular focus on reading at Stamfordham (please see Phonics and Early Reading) as we believe this is the gateway to accessing the whole school curriculum and success in life. Reading is taught by trained members of staff in Read, Write, Inc phonics lessons to Preschool, Reception, Key Stage 1 children and any older pupils who are not yet fluent readers. Once children can read confidently, we continue to develop reading fluency and comprehension across all year groups during English lessons. We encourage children to develop a love of books and enjoy reading for pleasure and aim to create readers, rather than just children who can read. 


At Stamfordham, we teach English using The Literacy Shed and core books as a basis for our lessons. Our aim is to offer a creative, engaging curriculum that provides all children with opportunities to write across the curriculum in a variety of genres. During English lessons, pupils are also taught punctuation and grammar, new vocabulary and spellings appropriate to their year group. There is a clear progression of literacy skills through school (please see our English Progression Map Overview) that build on previous learning. We use a marking ladder to assess the new literacy skills that have been acquired before moving on to a new text. Any skills that are not yet embedded, continue to be practised during English lessons. Our curriculum offers many opportunities for children to develop their speaking and listening skills and increase their confidence when performing.


The purpose of English in the National Curriculum  is to teach pupils to read, write and speak fluently, so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Our curriculum aims to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and opportunities to develop a love of literature. 



At Stamfordham School, English is taught daily across school from Preschool to Year 6. The children in Preschool, Reception and Key Stage 1 also have a daily RWI phonics lesson in which phonological awareness skills, decoding, reading fluency and comprehension are taught. Children learn to write in English lessons through a variety of high-quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Pupils are also given opportunities to consolidate their writing skills in other subject areas.  This might be a written record of a science experiment or a newspaper report about the Great Fire of London.   


Children who have completed the Read, Write, Inc assessment process and are fluent readers continue to access levelled reading books. Class Teachers regularly assess their progress to ensure they are on the correct reading level. On completion of the reading levels, children are then classed as free readers and can choose from a range of challenging, high quality books in their classroom.


Spelling, punctuation, grammar and comprehension is taught and practised through the English units of work. In addition, we use the RWI spelling programme to teach the National Curriculum word banks for each year group. We provide lots of opportunities for children to develop their speaking and listening skills through the English curriculum and other subject areas.  Pupils are regularly encouraged to share their opinions and are also given the chance to perform to a wider audience through school performances. Every classroom provides a language-rich environment, with displays to support learning and celebrate successes. Classrooms also have fiction libraries stocked with a range of high quality books to develop children's love of reading. 


In Early Years, children begin to develop the skills needed for fluent handwriting through Squiggle and Wiggle, Wake and Shake, Funky Fingers, PE sessions, additional mark making opportunities and outdoor physical play. They learn to develop their gross and fine motor skills, co-ordination and ability to cross their midline. The explicit teaching of vocabulary in every year group and opportunities for storytelling from Early Years onwards, supports children to write creatively. Reception to Year 4 have regular handwriting lessons each week, following the Nelson scheme. Children in Reception learn to form letters correctly, Year 1 children develop their handwriting fluency and begin to join their letters. Years 2 - 4 work on developing a fluent style of writing. Handwriting expectations remain high in years 5 and 6, however most children have developed a fluent style by this stage. Children who are not yet fluent writers, will continue to have handwriting lessons on a one to one basis.



In 2023:

  • 86% of children achieved the expected standard in the Phonics Screening Check in Year 1 (75% achieved this nationally, 2022).
  • 86% of children achieved the expected standard in Reading at the end of KS1 (67% achieved this nationally, 2022).
  • 86% of children achieved the expected standard in Writing at the end of KS1 (58% achieved this nationally, 2022).
  • 100% of children achieved the expected standard in Reading at the end of KS2 (73% achieved this nationally, 2022).
  • 100% of children achieved the expected standard in Writing at the end of KS2 (71% achieved this nationally, 2022).
  • 100% of children achieved the expected standard in Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation at the end of KS2 (72% achieved this nationally, 2022).


We monitor progress and attainment in reading, writing, spelling, speaking and listening.  Any children who are not making the expected level of progress are given timely interventions to enable them to make good progress. Writing in areas of the curriculum other than English is regularly reviewed to ensure it is of the same standard expected in English. We ask children in 'pupil voice' meetings to share their views about English lessons, DEAR time, English displays, the books we provide and how they feel about English. We consider their views when planning our curriculum, buying new books and designing our environment.


SEND and struggling readers

We provide an ambitious English curriculum so that all children, including those with special educational needs can make good progress from their individual starting points. A range of additional support is offered, including pre-teaching if required, tutoring and small group work and RWI 'pinny time'. Additional resources, such as RWI sound cards, duo-coloured reading rulers, pencil grips, fidget toys, quiet spaces to work are also used to support children to be successful. This process is reviewed regularly to ensure good progress is being made. Children who are struggling readers continue to follow the Read, Write, Inc programme, but are taught in small groups or one to one so that their specific needs can be met.


Cultural Capital and Developing a Love of Reading

At Stamfordham Primary School, we believe that it is of paramount importance to children's future outcomes that they are exposed to opportunities and resources they may not have previously experienced. In addition to our English curriculum, we subscribe to the Schools Library Service to ensure that the books available in school are current and matched to both the children’s interests and each unit of work being studied. Our children are inspired to love reading by our Class 4 librarians, who welcome younger children into our recently redesigned library to share books and listen to stories. Daily 'DEAR' (Drop Everything and Read) time sessions are held in all classes. During this time each class choose books they would like their teacher to read to them and the teacher models reading with fluency and expression. Parents and carers are invited into Early Years to read their favourite books and share their love of reading with the children. Some of the additional activities we have offered in the last school year to further promote reading enjoyment are:


  • Celebrating World Book Day
  • Author visit- Adam Bushnell
  • Book recommendations around school
  • Celebrating National Poetry Day
  • Celebrating Nursery Rhyme Week
  • Attending the Hexham Book Festival to listen to author Kristina Stephenson read her book, The Museum of Marvellous Things
  • A book fair held in school
  • A workshop with Class 2, delivered by an Illustrator
  • Topic-themed books and story boxes from the library service, providing additional fact and fiction books and story props for children to explore
  • Visits to our library encourage pupils’ independence in choosing the texts they wish to read
  • Class 4 pupils visit Early Years on Thursday afternoons to share books with the younger children


Click here to view the full National Curriculum Programme of Study that we follow for English.