At Hampden Gurney we believe literacy is a fundamental part of every child’s education and we are committed to ensuring that literacy skills are promoted throughout the curriculum as well as in daily lessons. We aim to encourage a love and enthusiasm for reading and writing that will serve our children well as they move through life. Underpinning the literacy opportunities found throughout the curriculum are high expectations and an ethos of achievement.


What is Phonics?

  • This is the knowledge of how the alphabetic sounds works and how these sounds are combined to correspond to the spoken word.
  • Phonemes are the sounds, which are made by blending letters to correspond to the spoken word.
  • Graphemes are the written equivalent of phonemes

The teaching of phonics is based on the Letters and Sounds Documents set out by the Department of Education.

Sounds are to be taught in a specific order following letters and sounds until phase 3. In the delivery of phonics, teachers will also use a range of other resources and schemes of work, including Jolly Phonics, Read Write Inc and Nessy.


Our aim is to teach children to communicate clearly and with confidence in a range of situations. We develop their skills for self-expression, extend their vocabulary and build up the grammatical constructs which are necessary to develop and express more complex thoughts. Children are given opportunities to speak in formal and informal situations, both prepared and unprepared. They benefit from group work, discussion and debate in Literacy lessons and throughout the curriculum. We understand and aim to promote the importance of talk as a basis for writing.


We believe that good listening is the key to most learning and mental development and therefore we promote active listening. Through this children can achieve mental focus and development, improved thinking skills, socially acceptable behaviour and the ability to reflect. This is achieved through insistence on mental focus, listening games and activities, the modelling of standard English and a range of other techniques.


Writing does not exist in our culture in a separate, unrelated space or as an isolated pursuit. It is a meaningful activity, completely linked to a wide range of literacy events, with very clear purposes. It develops best where opportunities are provided for extended and developmental talk to support and encourage the writing process. Writing has a better chance of succeeding with pupils who increasingly understand about how a range of texts, carefully constructed for identified audiences, can interact to serve social and learning purposes.

We aim to:

  • ensure pupils read widely, frequently and independently to make greater progress in writing
  • focus on text level objectives such as: what purpose(s) does this work serve?; what effect are audiences supposed to noticed?; what is characteristic of these sorts of text?; how do published authors achieve these written outcomes?
  • provide constant feedback in the literacy sessions by ‘talk partners’, teacher / other adults and at the time of composition
  • ensure shared and guided writing form key features of literacy sessions, as they involve a good balance of reading and writing
  • provide opportunities to work on sustained pieces of writing, in which new skills and knowledge should be encouraged
  • recognise the importance of integrating the specific skills taught with good opportunities to use them in genuine writing contexts
  • encourage pupils to articulate their own thoughts, insights, problems, fears, enthusiasms – how they feel about themselves as writers and their levels of self-esteem


Reading is a complex skill with many components. Successful approaches to the teaching of reading should encourage children to use a variety of strategies in their pursuit of meaning with phonics as the way of decoding. Jolly Phonics is used in Nursery and Read Write Inc is used in the rest of the school. Reading should be a valuable and rewarding aspect of the children’s learning and consequently should open the door to a world of knowledge.

We aim to:

  • build on the child’s prior knowledge and early literacy experience
  • recognise and value the parents/carers role as prime educators in the pre school years and work together to develop the child’s reading skills
  • teach our pupils to become confident, independent reflective readers who read from a range of texts for a variety of purposes
  • deliver a structured and progressive whole school approach to the teaching of reading
  • create a reading culture by providing a rich language environment within the classroom and throughout the school
  • select appropriate resources to motivate, challenge and extend pupils effectively
  • identify pupils who require additional support and intervene at an early stage
  • monitor reading progress and levels of attainment closely
  • promote an ethos of achievement by setting high expectations and challenging targets