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Intent: Why do we teach English at Westbury on Trym CE Academy?

It is our intent at Westbury on Trym Academy to deliver an inspiring English curriculum through lessons which encourage pupils to speak, read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children will be exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening for their ongoing journey.

Implementation: How we teach reading at Westbury on Trym CE Academy

Creating a love of reading in children is potentially one of the most powerful ways of improving academic standards in school.

At Westbury on Trym we use high quality reading material to encourage the children to take an active role in the reading process. We ensure these model texts teach children key, transferable language patterns that can be built upon year after year. Our aim is to create confident, imaginative and independent readers, so we need to ensure that the tools and models that we expose them to support them in their learning journey.

Phonics and early reading

At Westbury on Trym, we are using the systematic synthetic phonics program ‘Unlocking Letters and Sounds’ to teach our children to become fluent and confident readers. We begin teaching phonics in Reception. Following on from their pre-school setting, the children focus on general sound discrimination, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and oral segmenting and blending which forms the bedrock of developing children’s early reading.

Children will then begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes they have been taught.

In Year 1, they continue to develop their phonetical knowledge by learning any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional common exception words. By the end of Year 1, children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. All children are screened using the national phonics screening check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

At Westbury, during the early stages of reading in both our group reading sessions at school and in the books children take home. Texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading.


As they develop as readers the children will:

  • Explore new vocabulary which supports their understanding of new texts.
  • Make predictions (What do you think will happen next? Why do you think that? What clues in the text lead you to think that?)
  • Self- monitor to seek clarification. (I’m puzzled by… can anyone explain why?)
  • Ask questions-during and after (Good readers internalise questions- adults can draw these out and develop children’s understanding)
  • Develop their understanding across a wide range of genres through:

     Retrieval questions where they can directly find the answer in the text.

    Interpretation questions where they use clues in the text to infer what the character is feeling or what might happen next.

                 Choice questions where they think carefully about the author’s choice of  phrases or   vocabulary to make the text more interesting. 

Summarise what they have understood about a character or plot. 

Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely through our reading scheme and school library. Each year the children take part in a Book Challenge to encourage them to engage with a wider range of genre in a fun way. World Book Day is celebrated every year with a range of whole school activities.

Implementation: How do we teach writing at Westbury on Trym CE Academy?

At Westbury on Trym we immerse the children in a wide variety of genre throughout their primary school experience. We use books, wow events, drama, trips and other stimuli to inspire the children to write.

We use milestones in each year group to ensure that there is a clear progression of skills throughout the school. We build these into our teaching sequence where a grammar skill is taught, then it is practised in a short piece of writing and then the children are given opportunities to prove their understanding in a variety of longer pieces. This ensures that children are able to embed the skills in a more purposeful and relevant way. Children are scaffolded and challenged in their learning to allow them to grow at the correct pace for them. The children are encouraged to use success criteria to evaluate their own knowledge and understanding to allow them more ownership of their learning. They are supported in the process of editing and improving their work.

Our milestones for Reading and Writing


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