Athelstan Community Primary School

"To be the best that we can be"



Communication is a key life skill which we value highly across the school. We aim to inspire all pupils to read and write to a high standard both technically and creatively, in order to express themselves meaningfully to a variety of audiences, with confidence. We aim for pupils to have an up-to-date and confident understanding and use of technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their writing, and the writing of others.


Children are taught reading, writing(including grammar, spelling and punctuation) and spoken language skills in daily English lessons, appropriate to their age and stage of development. These skills are further refined and embedded across the daily curriculum and through visits, visitors to school and events. For example:

  • working with an author,
  • participating in STAR Alliance Spelling Bees,
  • participating in debate competitions,
  • participation in World Book Day events,
  • writing reviews after our visit to the Theatre,
  • writing evaluations ad instructions for DT projects
  • writing reflections on experiences and learning across the curriculum (including Arts Award).

Spoken language

We aim to:

  • Encourage children to talk for a range of purposes and audiences.
  • Promote the use and value of formal and informal English alongside our local accent and dialect, in order to develop accurate spelling and enable pupils to participate in formal situations confidently.
  • Teach children to listen carefully, and respond appropriately in a variety of situations-including debate.
  • Give children opportunities for drama, improvisation and performance.
  • To make our children confident speakers and good listeners, and to make speaking and listening pleasurable and productive experiences.
  • Enable our children to speak and listen, with and without teacher supervision, and be able to plan collaboratively.


We do this in a variety of ways across the curriculum, involving a range of audiences within the community.

For example:

  • Paired and group discussion/debate.
  • Reporting back to class.
  • Giving evaluations.
  • Sharing explanations across the curriculum.
  • Presentations in class.
  • Presentations in Class Assemblies for parents/carers and pupils.
  • School and Class Council discussions
  • Performing poetry.
  • Sharing writing.
  • Debates
  • Performing in productions.


Reading, Phonics and Spelling


Teaching children to read is of the upmost importance at Athelstan Community Primary School. We believe reading is a life enhancing skill that is the entitlement of every child. We do not only teach pupils to read, but we provide a positive approach that encourages children to enjoy books, find out information from a variety of sources and share stories together.


Our core reading scheme is Phonics Bug. These books are phonetically decodable ensuring children are applying the knowledge gained in our Phonic lessons and encouraging them to independently read texts from an early age. Progression is ensured using banded books to both support and challenge through additional fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts for the children to read. These are Oxford Reading Tree, Storyworld, and Ginn 360. Each classroom also has a large selection of books. Children are given access to these books during guided reading sessions and at other times throughout the week. We believe that it is important that children enjoy reading and are given time to explore, select and evaluate books of their choice.


We also have Bug Club (Active Learn), where children can access e-books at home to further develop their reading and comprehension skills. You child's class teacher has access to your usernames and passwords, these should also be found in your child's planner.

Guided reading is taught throughout KS1 and KS2. Teachers plan a series of reading activities to ensure pupils comprehend texts for their age developing sophisticated inference skills as well as reading for pleasure.


Interventions are available for all year groups if children require additional support and assistance in both phonics and reading. As well as early intervention in EYFS with pre-reading speech and language interventions.


Reading at home

Reading at home is of the upmost importance as strong home-school partnerships are highly beneficial to reading development throughout a child’s time at primary school. For each child to be the best that they can be it is essential that reading is a daily part of homework and life. It is part of the school's homework policy that reading is completed, at home, at least three times a week. This should be recorded in your child's planner in the relevant section.



Phonics is taught daily to all children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and KS1, with the expectation that they will have secured word recognition skills and will be fluent readers by the end of KS1.


Children in our Raindrops and Puddles Nurseries are introduced to Phase 1 of the Letters and Sounds programme. This is a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills to children. Phase 1 supports the development of speaking and listening and awareness of sounds. Our aim is to teach children the important basic elements of letters and sounds such as oral segmenting and blending of familiar words.


In Sunshines (FS2) the children learn the alphabetic code. This includes learning letter sounds and shapes, hearing and saying the sounds in words in the correct order and being able to read and write the 44 phonemes or sounds in the English language. They do this through the Letters and Sounds programme and use Jolly Phonics which is a fun and child centred approach where each sound has an action providing a multi-sensory method. This helps them begin to read words and texts.


The children in KS1 continue with daily phonic lessons building on what has already been taught. They also have daily guided reading sessions.

Phonics Play is a website that your child may already be familiar with. It has a bank of games that they can play to consolidate learning in Phonics. Please click on the link below:


Lots of children learn in different ways which is why teaching them means using a range of approaches. This will also help them when applying spelling because they will see the word in different contexts.

At Athelstan we have weekly spelling tests which are designed, not only to check that children can spell important words linked to the curriculum, but to assess their understanding of these in context. It is important that you help your child learn these spellings by trying out different strategies and making it fun for them by using some of the activities suggested (see useful resources section below) or making up your own ways. The emphasis should not just be on spelling the word but being able to use it and to apply and recall taught spelling rules.

It is expected that children complete and return their spelling homework each week on the date set by your child's class teacher.


Applying spelling

How can I make sure they write spellings correctly in their writing?

As well as engaging in all the fun activities suggested, it is still important to put the words into sentences for the child. This puts it into context and also gets them to apply the spelling within writing rather than a list of words. This is why it is so important for children to complete all of their spelling sheet rather than just writing the words

What if my child forgets their words after a few weeks?

Your child will be introduced to using a spelling journal at school. This is simply a book that they can add spellings to but importantly, refer back to. They can also use the books to try out different strategies and they will take this book with them to their next class. Your child needs to know that learning spellings isn’t just for the day of the test but it is for when writing too.


Useful resources

Some useful resources have been uploaded for you to use to support your child at home. Please click on the links below.


Dear Parents/Carers,

We are pleased to let you know that your child can receive a daily phonics lesson whilst schools are closed. Phonics is the way we teach children to recognise the sounds in words. It helps your child to learn to read and is an essential part of your child’s education.

I hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the last of the sunshine!

Kind regards

Mrs Hayton



World Book Night is the annual celebration of books and reading that takes place on 23rd April. People from all backgrounds are brought together for one reason – to inspire others to read more. The best part about it is that everyone can get involved! Whether you read a lot or don’t know when you last picked a book up, you can join in the celebration in so many different ways!

If you do decide to take on the challenge, it would be great if you uploaded any photographs to Evidence Me so we can see them.

Many thanks,

Mrs Hayton



Thank you to everyone who attended the Y1-Y6 reading open morning today. We hope you found it useful. For those of you who couldn't make it, this is what was covered:

  • Reading bookmarks were introduced.The bookmarks are there to help you think of questions to ask your child when reading with them at home and for adults (i.e. Parent helpers) to use in school. These will be attached to your child's planner by the end of the week and should stay attached to the planner so they are easily accessible for anyone reading with your child at home or school.
  • Example reading activities were modelled/shared to give you a taste of how we teach reading in school.
  • Parents/Guardians had an opportunity to use the bookmarks with their children and share a story/complete a reading activity together.


This year's spelling and reading meeting was held on Wednesday 26th September at 6pm. The meeting was designed for new parents to school however any parents who missed last year's session with Mrs Hayton or who felt like they needed a refresher were welcome to join. Please come and speak to me should you have any questions relating to English this year.

Many thanks,

Mr Ivel