At Bridgelea the children are taught at “stage not age”, and many demonstrate difficulties in literacy due to their SEMH needs. The English curriculum encourages the foundations of early reading and writing skills, in an age appropriate accessible manner. The use of quality texts, opportunities to develop oracy and speaking and listening skills underpin our approach to literacy. We actively discourage teaching from shared planning due to the varying needs of the children in class groups; sharing texts and ideas is always useful for teaching staff but the delivery of another teachers’ planning has been proven to have a detrimental effect upon progress and meeting the specific needs of children.


We use the Oxford Reading Criterion Scale (ORCS) for assessing reading through the curriculum. Children are PM Benchmarked to establish their book band, and this, alongside the New Group Reading Test (NGRT) and Comprehension Conversations establish a baseline level for reading.

Reading is split into the following skills-  Retrieval, Inference and Word Level.  The coverage of these skills are mapped across the year in the long term map.  In milepost one phonics is delivered daily following letters and sounds and decodable texts matching the child’s phonics level are applied (see document- Bridgelea Phonics Approach). Phonics may be also be delivered to children in milepost 2 and 3 dependent on their learning needs. This could be via letters and sounds, or via a targetted phonics intervention.

Writing, SPAG and Transcription

Writing is assessed using the Bridgelea Framework, which is based upon the KPI’s for the National Curriculum. Children are baselined using the baseline criteria scale against writing from 2 different purposes. This enables teachers to find a “best fit” to begin assessing writing skills.

We do not follow a genre map at Bridgelea, children are taught to write for a purpose. Each purpose has a “RAFT” (Reason, Audience, Features, Terminology) which allows teachers to target the purpose specifically in their planning for their individual class.  (see document- Bridgelea Purpose Map, Milepost RAFTs). Within the RAFT, the specific punctuation and grammar coverage is specified.

Our work encompasses the move from word, to sentence, to text level. We have a number of support mechanisms to assist children move through this dependent on their specific needs;

  • An agreed sentence displayed across school which demonstrates the complexity expected of the stage of the children in that room.  (Base sentence- The cat sat (subject, verb) )
  • Colourful Narrative (A key stage one approach prescribed by SALT)
  • Colourful Semantics (A SALT programme useful for children with MLD/ASC)
  • TalkBoost (A SALT programme widening vocabulary and exposing children to new words).

Teaching of spellings is taught alongside transcription skills. Children are taught specifically about vocabulary through looking at the morphology of the word whilst applying rules of prefix/suffix, plurals, rules of possession and exploring antonyms and synonyms. Words should be taught contextually to fit with the topic specific vocabulary whilst also encompassing the specific spelling rules for the stage, not age of the children. Transcription may take the form of teaching handwriting, or, for children whom specified in the EHCP, typing skills. (see documents- Morphology Frames, Handwriting Guidance).

Vocabulary must be taught with reference to EKLAN practises for both questioning in reading and developing vocabulary. Children in Bridgelea, at any stage, will need access to tier 2 vocabulary, not just tier 3.

  • Tier 1: These are the common, everyday words that most children enter school knowing already. Since we don't need to teach these, this is a tier without tears!
  • Tier 2: This tier consists of words that are used across the content areas and are important for students to know and understand. Included here are process words like analyse and evaluate that students will run into on many standardized tests and that are also used at the university level, in many careers, and in everyday life. We really want to get these words into students' long-term memory.
  • Tier 3: This tier consists of content-specific vocabulary—the words that are often defined in textbooks or glossaries. These words are important for imparting ideas during lessons and helping to build students' background knowledge.

English Teaching at Bridgelea

These elements work together to form the English curriculum and are all as important as each other, no part should be omitted for any child without discussion through the SENCO/English co-ordinator.

  • Phonics and daily reading
  • Daily reading/Guided Reading (guided read with teacher x 1 per week)
  • Handwriting/transcription
  • Teaching of spellings
  • Big Read
  • RAFT work
  • Word level work
  • Sentence level work
  • Shared writing
  • Big Write
  • Class book (a shared text above the level at which the children can read)

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