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Statement of Intent, Implementation and Impact


“Learning for life”

Our vision at Thornton Hough Primary is for the children to become articulate and confident communicators in both written and verbal forms. Our values-led curriculum drives forward a strong motivation and desire for our children to have their voices heard and we aim to equip them with the necessary skills to do so in the most effective way. We have very high expectations of the children’s English work which the children rise to, thanks to exciting, purposeful lessons and an excellent engagement with the subject. A love of reading is evident throughout our school and teachers continuously strive to promote this passion.

Our Writing curriculum offer follows the National Curriculum in KS1 and KS 2 and the EYFS Statutory Framework and Development Matters in Foundation 2. Our writing curriculum is ambitious and designed to give all learners the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.  Where required, pedagogy is adapted so that all pupils including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND are on the same knowledge journey towards the same endpoints.

We follow a text based approach to writing. Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for writing. Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the writing activities provided.  Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are provided through a range of activities including drama and Talk for Writing.

Reading Intent

At Thornton Hough Primary School, we actively promote a love of reading.  Our intention is that all our children will learn to read confidently, fluently and with understanding by the age of 7.  They will understand and be able to access a variety of genres, whilst also developing an on-going curiosity about new words that they encounter on their reading journey, incorporating newly acquired vocabulary into both their written and spoken work. If a child is not able to read fluently by the age of seven, intensive support is put in place to enable them to catch up quickly.

We place reading at the heart of our curriculum where it is promoted throughout all subjects.  We want all our children to develop positive reading habits and for them to understand from the earliest opportunity that reading is both a source of information and pleasure.  All our staff understand that teaching our children to become confident and fluent readers is vital to achieving their potential during their schooling and beyond.  We recognise that parents play a major role in supporting their child’s reading and we aim to work in partnership with them to create, develop and maintain positive reading habits.

Reading Implementation

Reading in F2 and KS1

In F2 and Year 1 children are taught to read by decoding words using a systematic synthetic phonics (S.S.P) approach.  Once the children are able to decode words confidently they build upon this to read phonetically decodable sentences and texts with increased fluency.  Our S.S.P programme at Thornton Hough Primary School is Essential Letters and Sounds (E.L.S), a government approved scheme.  All teaching staff and teaching assistants across the school are trained in delivering E.L.S lessons. 

E.L.S is taught daily in F2 and Year 1.  The programme is delivered with rigour and fidelity to each year group.  The structure of every lesson is the same meaning children quickly become familiar with terminology and build upon previously taught knowledge.

During daily phonics our children rapidly learn phonemes and the letter or groups of letters that represent them (graphemes).  Memorable mnemonics accompany each phoneme (‘or’ - ‘order some popcorn’, ‘ar’ – ‘a far star’).  During each E.L.S. lesson the children will:

  • Re-call a selection of previously taught phonemes from visual prompts
  • Recognise and read previously taught harder to read and spell (tricky) words
  • Use their phonic knowledge to practise and develop their segmenting and blending skills using their robot arms and blending hands (‘alien’ words are included in this section)
  • Accurately read aloud phonetically decodable captions and sentences, developing fluency and expression
  • Work on letter formation to develop handwriting

On days when a new phoneme is introduced, the children complete a corresponding task in their individual E.L.S. Phonics Workbooks.

In addition to the daily phonics lesson, children in F2 and Year 1 read a phonetically decodable book that aligns exactly with their current phonics stage, with their teacher at least twice a week.  This reading book is then sent home to be practised with parents.  (Each year, early in the Autumn term, parents are invited into school to a presentation explaining how phonics and reading is taught in school and how they can best support their child at home).

Every child also chooses and takes home a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ book to share at home with an adult or older sibling.  It is explained to parents that this book will probably not be fully decodable for their child yet, so there should not be an expectation for them to read it by themselves.  We intend for these books to deepen each child’s love of literature, through texts that they have selected for themselves.

Children in Year 2 are taught E.LS. at least 3 times a week until their phonic knowledge is secure and they are reading with fluency and accuracy.  In year 2, children begin to follow ‘Pathways to Read’ (see below).  Children follow the Babcock spelling programme from Year 2 in order to learn new spelling patterns.  This continues in Key Stage 2.

Reading in KS 2

We follow a mastery approach to English through the programme Pathways to Read.  Units of work are delivered using high quality texts and children in all year groups are given varied opportunities for reading.  Skills are built up through repetition within the units, and children apply these skills in the reading activities provided.

We deliver one whole class shared reading lesson per week from year 2-6 with bespoke grouped reading for every pupil at least once a week as well as individual reading.  For pupils still needing support with phonics from years 2-6, we provide an individual reading programme that has phonically decodable texts at the heart of it.  In our shared and grouped reads, there is a clear teaching focus with the opportunity to master key reading skills in each session.  There are follow on reading tasks to enable pupils to evidence the skills they have mastered independently.

Many opportunities for widening children’s vocabulary are given through the Pathways to Read approach and this builds on the extensive work we do in school to provide our children with a rich a varied vocabulary.

Children in years 3 and 4 read at least once a week to their class teacher or teaching assistant.  Over the course of 2 weeks, the class teacher will hear every child read.  Children identified as the lowest 20% are listened to read daily.  Children in years 5 and 6 also read regularly to an adult.  Children identified as the lowest 20% are listened to read daily. 

As in F2 and KS1, the children in years 3 to 6 are encouraged to take home a reading for pleasure book as well as their reading scheme book.


Reading Impact

We measure attainment in reading in a number of ways, including statutory assessments at the end of EYFS, Year 2 and Year 6 and NFER word reading at the end of the academic year.  Since the children in F2 and KS1 receive regular phonics teaching, staff are quick to pick up on misconceptions or those not keeping up with the pace of delivery.  This allows targeted interventions to be quickly put in place for those children needing extra support.  Additionally, all children on the E.L.S. programme are assessed every half term using specific E.L.S. assessment materials.  The assessments establish grapheme recognition, blending and segmenting accuracy and sight reading of harder to read and spell words. 

At the end of Year 1, all our children complete the ‘phonics screening check’.  Our children perform well in this test and our results are consistently above the national average.  Any children who do not meet the required standard in year one continue with targeted intervention and re-sit the test at the end of year 2.

At Thornton Hough Primary School, we are proud that our children love reading and actively seek out and take every opportunity they can to dive into a book that they are enjoying.  From an early age our pupils are able to talk about the authors they enjoy and the texts that excite, motivate and interest them. Staff prioritise stocking their reading areas with up to date, relevant and varied reading materials that meet the interests and abilities of the children in their classes.  Careful consideration is given to providing children across the school with literature that reflects the diverse and culturally vibrant world in which they live.  It is delightful to witness the children’s genuine excitement when new books arrive for them to explore and enjoy.  Our children make the transition from us to year 7 with many skills and attributes but we are confident that the positive reading habits that they have developed with us will enable them to thrive and continue to be successful learners through high school and beyond.


Further Curriculum Information

Essential Letters and Sounds -Phonics Programme

Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen Phonics programme. The aim of ELS is ‘Getting all children to read well, quickly’. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.

Children begin learning Phonics at the very beginning of Reception and it is explicitly taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.

Throughout the day, children will use their growing Phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This includes reading 1:1 with a member of staff, small group reading, and reading as a class. 

Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.

We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. 

Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.

We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to diagraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).

We teach children to:

• Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently

• Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.

Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.

Supporting Reading at Home:

  • Children will only read books that are entirely decodable, this means that they should be able to read these books as they already know the code contained within the book.
  • We only use pure sounds when decoding words (no ‘uh’ after the sound)
  • We want children to practise reading their book 4 times across the week working on these skills:

              Decode – sounding out and blending to read the word.

              Fluency – reading words with less obvious decoding.

              Expression – using intonation and expression to bring the text to life!

We must use pure sounds when we are pronouncing the sounds and supporting children in reading words. If we mispronounce these sounds, we will make reading harder for our children. Please watch the videos below for how to accurately pronounce these sounds.

At the beginning of each academic year, we will hold an information session for parents and carers to find out more about what we do for Phonics, Reading and English at our schools. Please do join us.

More support for parents and carers can be found here:


phase_2_sounds.mp4 (540p).mp4phase_3_sounds (540p).mp4phase_5_pronunciation (1080p) (1).mp4
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