At Higher Failsworth Primary School Reading and Writing are crucial parts of our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that all pupils regardless of background, gender, ability or additional need will access the key skills taught in English enabling them to approach materials in all curriculum areas with confidence.  We intend to provide a strong foundation for their learning throughout their school career enabling learners to flourish and establish the skills they need to become confident and proficient readers and writers.  We endeavour to fully equip our pupils with all the skills necessary so they are able to grow their knowledge and passion for the world by utilising their literacy skills making them a lifelong learner.


We aim to:

  • To extend and develop the knowledge of language children bring from home by providing a wide range of linguistic experiences.
  • To ensure that all pupils can read easily, fluently and with good understanding and develop the habit of reading widely and often, both for pleasure and information
  • To ensure that all pupils acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.
  • To ensure that all pupils appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • To ensure that all pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
  • To develop every child’s understanding of the spoken word and their capacity to express themselves effectively in a variety of speaking and listening activities, matching style and response to audience and purpose.
  • To ensure that all pupils use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas.
  • To meet the requirements of the National Curriculum and the EYFS Development Matters document.
  • To appropriately integrate the use of ICT within English delivery in order to enhance teaching and learning.
  • To monitor and evaluate the quality of teaching and regularly assess the standards of teaching and learning across the school.
  • To create an atmosphere of enjoyment and pleasure in which all children feel confident to express themselves in both spoken and written language.
  • To provide high quality English experiences outside designated English lessons through a cross-curricular topic approach.

At Higher Failsworth the literacy curriculum is made up of several components; phonics, reading and writing.  Each aspect is taught discreetly as well as in a cross curricular approach. Working in this manner ensures that the key skills become embedded in our curriculum and learning.


At Higher Failsworth we use a structured systematic approach to teaching Phonics.  We follow a programme of study produced by Read Write Inc.  Phonics sessions begin in our Nursery and Reception Classes and run until the children are in year2 and beyond, if required.  Children’s progress and learning is closely assessed and monitored to ensure they are accessing the learning at a level that is appropriate to them.

At the beginning of the programme children are encouraged to listen to environmental sounds, play games with sounds as well as learning to segment and blend words orally (Understanding FRED the phonics frog and have a go at talking like FRED too!)  The children are then taught to recognise picture cards linking to corresponding sounds.

Once this learning is established children are then taught to recognise lowercase letters by grapheme (letter) and phoneme (sound).  After four weeks in reception, when the children have settled in we assess their segmenting and blending abilities and place the children into focused phonics groups.  At this point phonics work will be tailored to each of the group’s needs.  For those assessed below the level expected for this stage in their education they will continue to work on and develop these very early skills until the children are confident to use all representations of the single sounds in the alphabet.  For those assessed at the expected level for this stage in their education they will be supported to build and write small cvc words using the single sounds they have previously been taught.  Learning will be reassessed on a 6-8week basis to help measure progress and enable teachers to continuously provide tailored learning for all children.

Children in the foundation stage at HFPS will participate in a 30-minute Phonics session daily.

Year 1 and 2 builds on the learning and experiences of phonics previously taught in EYFS.  At the end of each academic year the phonics exit data will be shared with the class teachers so they have a clear picture of their new class and this information will be used to inform the groupings at the start of the school year. The same 6-8weeks cycle of assessment, grouping, planning, learning and reviewing or reassessing is used.

Within these year groups the children will be taught about digraphs and trigraphs, groups of 2 and 3 letters put together to make one sound.  The children will be shown how to recognise these in real and nonsense words as well as being encouraged to read with speed, fluency and accuracy.  In addition to this the children will be taught to read ‘Tricky Red Words’ also known as common exception words.

Children in the Key Stage at HFPS will participate in a Phonics/ Reading  session daily. For children assessed as pink group and below will receive 1 hour daily focusing on sound knowledge, reading accuracy and speeds, reading storying and discussing stories linked to their reading level and completing writing activities that will embed their sound and reading knowledge.

Children in Key Stage 1 at HFPS who assess beyond pink group will receive a 1 hour phonics session on a Monday. This is our big read day when a new text is shared and discussed. On Tuesday-Friday the children will access daily sessions that are 35 minutes in length. These sessions continue to follow the schemes sounds lessons and allow for storybook practice times.

By the beginning of the Spring Term in year 2 it is expected that the children will have successfully completed the phonics programme.

For children who are not meeting the expected levels we follow a 1:1 phonics tutoring programme to help fill any knowledge gaps. Children in KS2 who are struggling with knowledge and understanding of phonics are able to access small group targeted sessions, 1:1 phonics tutoring as well as precision teaching interventions such as ‘Toe by Toe’ and other spelling interventions led by teaching assistants.


Reading is a very important part of life in school and it happens regularly.   Each classroom has a reading area which contains a variety of reading material suitable for all interests and reading abilities. Children are also able to visit the school library to support their learning across the curriculum.

In all classrooms and many different lessons children listen to modelled reading by an adult.  During frequent or daily story times children learn to listen to text, share in the enjoyment of stories and develop an understanding of their own story preferences.  In English lessons children learn to read texts really thoroughly using shared reading approaches. This is where children read a text with an adult.  The children also look for key features of different text types, as well as looking for specific spelling, grammar and punctuation points to help with writing skills.

Reading is a fundamental part of school and learning therefore children will be given reading books to take home. The main Reading Schemes used at Higher Failsworth are Rigby Star, Oxford Reading Tree including ‘Project X’.  In addition to this school have many ‘real books’ book banded.  This enables teachers to encourage more confident readers to have access to more challenging texts and those by well-known authors.  Pupils will be given a Reading Record Book enabling teachers, parents and pupils to keep records of the books read, children’s progress and means for teachers and parents to communicate in relation to reading.  Children in Reception to year 3 will read with their teacher and/ or a teaching assistant individually at least once in a week.   During this session the children will discuss the book they have previously read and will be supported to select another book to take home with them.

In school children from reception to Year 2 will read daily as part of their phonics session.  The text used will be appropriate for the level of the children within the phonics group and will be phonically decodable for the whole group.  Initially reading the text will be modelled to the children by an adult and the text will be used for several days to ensure fluency and good understanding.  Children will also discuss vocabulary and begin to find evidence in the text to support their comprehension and thinking skills.

From the Spring Term in year 2, children working at age related expectation, will access Guided Reading sessions.  In these large group or whole class sessions text are chosen based on topics linking with the wider curriculum and support learning in history and geography.  Teachers plan and deliver sessions that focus on developing children’s understanding of words and their meanings as well as improving their comprehension skills.

In years 2 to 4 scan reading and retrieval skills are the main foci of the sessions whereas in year 5 and 6 teachers plan to develop the children’s higher order thinking skills including inference and deduction.  Year 6 teachers will also ensure that pupils have plentiful opportunities to view previous STATs papers and discuss the techniques required to complete them in a timely and effective manner with confidence and resilience.

You can find out more about our Reading curriculum here.


Children are taught curriculum spellings from Year 1 to Year 6 throughout the school year, with early years focussing on phonics. Teachers follow a two week teaching cycle, which allows the children to investigate a spelling rule, play games with it and apply it in a context whilst developing the rule. Investigating the rule allows children to explore spellings as opposed to simply memorising them. Playing games with the spellings, applying them and developing them will give children a better chance to retain spellings at a later stage. Children are assessed through dictation, spelling tests and Literacy writing. Spelling lists with activities are sent home for homework or for children to practise at their own leisure. In order to embed taught spellings, spelling rules and words are encouraged to be used in Literacy writing across the school and they are recapped at the beginning of a new teaching cycle.


At Higher Failsworth we aim to ensure that our children are as engaged as possible in their writing and so, as each new topic begins, we immerse the children with a ‘hook’, this could be through drama, shared experiences, outdoor learning just to name a few! We feel that this not only helps build the children’s enjoyment of writing, but also allows them to build vocabulary choices before they begin to write.

Within our Nursery setting we introduce the children to marks by using ‘Squiggle while you Wiggle’ writing programme. Squiggle uses neurological and physiological movements to create marks.  In Reception, much of our writing is based around Drawing Club By Greg Bottrill. This allows the children to explore a story as a class and then individually create their own story adventures, starting with verbal storytelling then progressing to mark making. In addition to this we follow the writing rhythms from the Read, Write, Inc scheme to support letter formation. In the early stages of KS1 we allow the children to explore writing through the Read, Write, Inc phonics scheme to support their ability to form sentences which are structured accurately. We then introduce them to the writing cycle which is seen across the rest of the school.

We are focused on ensuring that the children’s writing is well structured and as a result we teach them to rehearse vocabulary and plan their writing from KS1. These skills are then reinforced and built upon in KS2 with the aim of children becoming more independent and confident writers by the time they reach Year 6.

Specific writing skills are taught as a whole class through shared and paired writing. Through ‘guided writing’ sessions the teacher may focus a small group of children on a specific skill and then allow time in the proceeding lessons for the children to apply this independently. In KS1 we encourage the children to use lots of picture plans to support their writing, then in KS2 the children are encouraged to use the ‘spider plan’ to plan their paragraphs.

In the later stages of KS1 the children are introduced to making simple addition and proofreading of their work to make small alterations in their writing. This then progresses in KS2 to suggesting improvements to both theirs and others’ writing and making changes to their work to both correct and enhance their writing.

You can find out more about our Writing curriculum here.

Spelling and Grammar (SPAG)

SPAG is taught through phonics and several weekly sessions during Key Stage 1 and follows the National Curriculum requirements at Key Stage 2. Children have regular short lessons which encourage them to investigate patterns, follow morphological rules, familiarise themselves with common exceptions and apply their knowledge of SPAG across the curriculum. Punctuation and grammar is also taught through Key Skills lessons in Literacy and embedded in a final writing piece.

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