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Margaret Wix Primary School

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Welcome to all things English at Margaret Wix


At Margaret Wix, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery/Reception following the Little Wandle progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.


At Margaret Wix Primary School, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of our children’s primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We, therefore, intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, to gain knowledge across the curriculum, and to develop their comprehension skills. We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material and the ‘Best of what has been’.


Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Staff promote a love for reading and exploit opportunities for children to read widely and deeply across all subject areas. Our desire is to develop a love of reading and to provide children with regular opportunities to share, discuss and explore their understanding.


Please see our Intent, implementation and Impact document below for more information


Intent – why are we teaching this?

Our intention for writing at Margaret Wix is for all children to:

  • Develop a love of language
  • View mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Master the skills needed to effectively express themselves in writing
  • Build writing stamina
  • Be inspired by high quality texts that they read or hear
  • Draw upon what they have read and adopt a similar authorial tone and style
  • Write with a good awareness of their audience
  • Use discussion in order to learn and clearly explain their understanding.


At Margaret Wix, we provide our children with opportunities to write across the curriculum. To ensure this, as a school, we follow the Herts for learning sequence overview, covering the entire English curriculum from Year 1 to Year 6. Currently (2021-22), we are following a carefully planned overview (Back on Track resources). This long term plan provides a progression of skills across all year groups and embeds key grammatical skills and techniques to ensure misconceptions are addressed. Through each writing unit, a high quality text is used to inspire the writing process. This sequence overview has been adapted and personalised to reflect our Margaret Wix curriculum; this incorporates half termly ‘Whole School Writes’ to encompass our school values and to provide the opportunity to write across a range of genres. The overview delivers a carefully planned curriculum, which is progressive by skills and ensures a consistency of writing.


In KS1 and KS2, the children are exposed to narrative writing, poetry and non-fiction writing. Carefully selected genres and high quality texts are selected so that children rehearse and build upon prior skills. Consequently, this ensures a progression of grammatical techniques. Opportunities to write at length have been carefully woven across all subject areas. Children are taught to craft their writing for different audiences and purposes.


During the writing process, we expect our children to evaluate their own learning, starting in Year 1, so they are made aware of the intention of the lesson, and, importantly, become proactive in establishing what they do and do not know. Children are taught to speak clearly and precisely in standard English using sophisticated, ambitious and expressive vocabulary. They present their learning in oral and written forms and have frequent opportunities to develop the art of public speaking.


Implementation – how are we teaching this?

At Margaret Wix, we use ‘Herts for Learning’ units (Back on Track) from Y1to Y6 as the vehicle for teaching writing, while EYFS teach to the Early Years Outcomes and Early Learning Goals. This is to ensure a consistent and systematic approach to teaching the skills of writing across all cohorts. This also means that children know what to expect when they change classes.


Teachers are given autonomy to adapt, change and edit the planning suggested in order to suit their cohort and allow room for cross curricular links. Lessons are objective led and planned in response to assessment information from prior learning. Learning is layered, building on the skills expected in each year group, in line with ‘National Expectations’ in an appropriate way for the audience. Suggested high quality texts are provided to inspire writing across all units.


At Margaret Wix, we have a strong focus on vocabulary. We are aware that the vocabulary deficit that most of our children have, needs to be addressed as a priority. In order to do this our staff model and expose our children to Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary. To support the teaching of new and adventurous vocabulary, all year groups have access to, and make full use of, the books that are collated by Herts for Learning. Additionally, to suit the needs of all our children, we carefully select books for pleasure and unit specific books that will inspire writing and expose our children to rich vocabulary. As a school, we ensure our children are exposed to texts that allow them to feel represented and valued. 


Opportunities for drama and for developing speaking and listening skills will be used in the initial stages of the writing sequence to build ideas, planning, vocabulary and confidence in the text type.


Our speaking and listening skills are developed across reading and writing, as well other subject areas:

  • Children are encouraged to communicate their learning. Each through discussions with talk partners, to the class and the teacher
  • Herts for Learning units has built in opportunities to discuss, present and express through drama and role play
  • Each class delivers a class sharing assembly, which parents are invited to watch
  • A Christmas concert, where children have the opportunity to narrate; this is a Year 6 production given at the end of their last year
  • Every child can ‘apply’ to be a ‘School Parliament Representative’ by presenting ideas and suitability for the role to their class
  • In year 6, children can apply to become house captains 
  • After going on school trips, we encourage our children to report in different ways on their visit
  • Authors’ visits - children are encouraged to ask questions while being made aware of the different ways presentations can be given and how ideas can be inspired.


After the teaching of a unit, teachers assess the final piece of extended writing. This is not expected to be completed independently; the children’s learning is scaffolded through word mats, shared and group writes etc. Throughout the unit of writing, the teacher and teaching assistant are used to guide the learning and offer formal, written feedback as well as verbal feedback, to address misconceptions or challenge a child further. Interventions on specific areas of weakness happen during feedback, in lessons or through 1:1 or group sessions. Teachers may use the Herts for Learning moderation materials to assess writing as well as the TAFS to mark off objectives to support in the assessment of writing. Half termly, we complete ‘whole school Writes’; these are used for moderation purposes across the whole school, as well as any other evidence from books, to ensure accurate assessments are made.



At Margaret Wix, we use the Herts ‘Essential Spelling’ scheme from year 2-6. Children are explicitly taught spelling through a rule. The children learn the rule on the first day and apply it across the week. Alongside learning spelling rules, children are required to learn their age groups’ national curriculum words. These are used in model texts, displayed on working walls and used in dialogue daily with the children.


There is an expectation that teachers track back to ensure that any gaps in knowledge are addressed. 



Grammar is taught through the model text or where necessary through discrete lessons. Teachers embed grammar structures within the writing journey and practise using learnt objectives around the unit of writing they are working on. Grammar objectives are matched on our curriculum overview for each unit of writing.


There is an expectation that all teachers’ use of grammar is accurate. To ensure progression in grammar skills, all KS1 and KS2 teachers have been given a progression of grammar document, on which they highlight the grammar skills that have been taught. Any areas of weakness that are identified as a result of independent writing or the hot or cold tasks, are taught as part of the modelled text, or the grammar starters. Again, teachers are expected to track back to previous years’ objectives, if this is appropriate.


Writing across the curriculum is taught by showing the children what a good example looks like, before then identifying the features/grammatical techniques in the specific text type.


Handwriting is taught in the most appropriate way to best meet the needs of each year group (whole class, small group, individual). At Margaret Wix, we use the ‘Letter Join Scheme’ to model handwriting regularly to our children. This high expectation for handwriting is to be applied across the curriculum. Fine and gross motor targeted intervention are in place for those children who may need extra support. 



Impact – what is the effect on the pupils?

The Writing curriculum is evaluated through:

  • The learning attitudes, engagement and motivation shown by the children
  • The impact of our curriculum is the measure of how well our intent has been realised. It is demonstrated through the success of our learners and their confidence to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time. We use this to support their writing
  • A range of assessment and analysis strategies: timely testing, moderation of work, pupil voice discussion, assessment grids and data tracking systems, are all used to ensure children know what they are meant to know at specific points during their education
  • The confidence our children show to demonstrate the knowledge they have retained over time, as well as their readiness for the next stage in education and for life in the wider world
  • Regular checks and judgements are based upon a triangulation of different monitoring and evaluation activities within school. These include work scrutiny, pupil voice discussions, outcomes of assessments and quality of teaching and learning
  • Summative assessment occurs using the Herts for Learning materials and moderating across year groups. These are carried out six times a year, unless the teacher wishes to moderate with the English lead more frequently. The analysis of this is used to identify areas of development and any children who are not making expected progress.
  • Marking and feedback provides on-going assessment information. Children are assessed formally at the end of each term, including at the end of each phase. Ongoing feedback and assessment, which addresses misconceptions and gaps in learning and informs planning, is used to ensure that the curriculum effectively meets the needs of all pupils.


See the Phonics to Early Reading intent, implementation and impact document



Intent – why are we teaching this?

At Margaret Wix Primary School, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of our children’s primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We, therefore, intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop knowledge of themselves, others and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation and love of reading; to gain knowledge across the curriculum; to read and engage with texts that promote representation in inclusivity and diversity; and to develop their comprehension skills.


We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material and the ‘Best of what has been’. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Staff promote a love for reading and exploit opportunities for children to read widely and deeply across all subject areas.


Our desire is to develop a love of reading and to provide children with regular opportunities to share, discuss and explore their understanding. Our Writing curriculum is text based and inspires children to read across a range of genres.


At Margaret Wix, we give pupils opportunities to read around these subjects and write in different genres. This enables them to form links and remember more effectively what they are learning. Children have access to high quality, appropriate reading content, including a school library and class book corners. Reading is taught discretely through guided reading and comprehension lessons.


Implementation – how are we teaching this?

The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. As a school we follow the synthetic, systematic programme ‘Little Wandle.’ Phonics is taught daily to all children in Foundation Stage, Year 1 and those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1.

 Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns or graphemes, which represent them.

 Phonics is delivered in whole class and ability-group format as it enables staff to ensure application across subjects, embedding the process in a rich literacy environment for early readers.

 Timely intervention is planned for those children who are working below expected levels as soon as needs are identified. This is tracked by the ‘Keep Up’ resources provided by Little Wandle.

 Children in Year 1 and 2 complete 3 x Reading sessions to support the application of phonics learning.

 Children are introduced to the books from our reading scheme, starting in Reception. All of our Early Years books are phonically decodable and match the progression of our phonics programme – ‘Little Wandle.’ When children demonstrate mastery of the skills for reading, they are moved on a level; children are regularly assessed to ensure their reading scheme book is carefully matched to their reading ability. The school ensures all texts are accurately matched to pupil ability and reading age. We use Big Cat Collins reading scheme books. Home reading is a priority at Margaret Wix and is encouraged the moment children enter our school.


Our ‘Give Me Ten’ reading initiative is used to raise standards and promote a love for reading. Parents make a note of books read in Reading Record and are encouraged to use question stems to ask their child about what they have just read, give them lots of praise and celebrate their successes. Our ‘Give Me Ten’ reading initiative rewards children who read regularly.


Each child takes home a practice reading book and a sharing book.


A reading practice book: This will be at the correct phonic stage for each child. The should be able to read this fluently and independently with only a small amount of help. This book has been carefully matched to each child’s current reading level.


A sharing book from our school or class library: children will not be able to read this on their own. This book is for both parent and child to read and enjoy together. In order to encourage children to become a lifelong readers, it is important that children learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book they have chosen for parents and children to enjoy together.


All children from year 2 onwards take part in four whole class or guided reading sessions per week. All teachers use these to introduce pupils to a range of genres and to teach a range of techniques that enable children to comprehend the meaning of what they have read. Guided reading sessions are taught through a skills-based approach. Progression is established through the use of sequential learning steps: teachers read to pupils through chorus and echo reading. This is followed up by retrieval, prediction, comprehension and inference tasks, which are sequenced according to year group and ability. To support our reading sessions we use a range of texts, including Rigby Star. At Margaret Wix, we use the ‘Herts for Learning’ guided reading took kit to support our reading sessions.


Ensuring reading for pleasure

‘Reading for pleasure is the single most important indicator of a child’s success.’ (OECD 2002) ‘The will influences the skill and vice versa.’ (OECD 2010)

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.


  • We read to children every day. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Margaret Wix and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. 
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books.
  • Every day, each class reads quietly for ten minutes. During this time, children are posed with a  different question each week E.G 'If you could be any character from a story, who would you be?' During this time, children can respond to this question, prompting them to think about the stories they have read. These questions allow the class to have rich discussions about texts they have read.
  • In Nursery/Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed.
  • Children from Nursery/Reception onwards have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • The school library is made available for classes to use at protected times. Every class has a half an hour slot weekly. During this time, children are read to, encouraged to explore new stories and recommend books to their peers.
  • Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events (book fairs, author visits and workshops, national events etc).
  • Every Friday Morning, children and parents are invited to a morning library sessions where they can share a book together, share the story, share the pictures and share in the experience.
  • Children take part in our Give Me Ten reading initiative, which promotes reading for pleasure for ten minutes each day at home. New starters and yearly, parents are sent a letter to outline how the scheme works. Children receive awards, that are book related, when they reach milestones for reading.


Impact – what is the effect on the pupils?

The Reading curriculum is evaluated and assessed in a variety of ways:

  • Analysis of Phonics and AR assessment information
  • Analysis of phonics assessments
  • Little Wandle assessment tasks after each teaching block
  • ‘Keep Up tasks’ from the Little Wandle Scheme are used to keep track on those children who may need more support
  • Reading conversations during whole class or guided reading sessions feed into summative assessments
  • HFL guided reading toolkits may be used in early years and KS1. These are used to track our children each term or half term, and subsequently using the KS2 toolkit for Years 3 and 4, ensures our assessment is consistent and next steps can be planned
  • Through internal and external moderation, we have a consistent measure of standards through school, and also termly testing using PiRA reading tasks helps to inform our judgements.


Please see the separate Little Wandle Intent and Implication document for more information.

How to help your child with reading

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