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Nottingham Primary Academy



At Nottingham Academy Primary our intent is to provide an inspirational English curriculum for our children that allows them to develop into confident, creative writers, readers, and communicators. 

We understand that developing strong literacy skills in primary school plays a key role in the ability of children to successfully navigate the later years of their school life, and the years beyond education. 

At Nottingham Academy, it is our aim to do this by immersing children in an engaging curriculum that is tailored to their needs, responsive to the different speeds at which children learn and sensitive to the challenges that all children face on their learning journey. 

Having a well-planned, carefully structured progression of skills that runs from the beginning of EYFS to the end of year 6 allows us to have high expectations of all children whilst ensuring that skills and knowledge are taught, practised and embedded throughout our children’s learning journey 

At the heart of this is the intention of all staff here at Nottingham Academy to instil a love of reading, writing and discussion in our children that will have a positive impact on their development during their time here, and a lasting impact on their lives. 



We aim to provide a reading rich curriculum, that introduces our children to a range of quality and diverse texts that reflect our society, our community and our children. Using a range of classic and newer texts, we strive to develop a reading for pleasure culture that excites and engages children with reading, both in and out of the classroom. Books drive our English teaching and learning, where texts are chosen to match both our curriculum needs and our themes and topics.  


Following a rigour and progressive synthetic phonics programme is a necessary requirement for all children in Year 1 and below. At Nottingham Academy, all our staff, regardless of Year group, are trained to deliver the Little Wandle phonics scheme, which is a government accredited phonics programme.  

Children in EYFS and Years 1 and 2 receive daily phonics teaching, plus ‘keep up’ sessions and interventions if need is recognised, to ensure that all children are being given the opportunity to progress. Both the teaching and the keep up sessions are based on regular assessments that inform staff the phonic stage that each child is on, whilst allowing any gaps in knowledge to be quickly noticed and rectified. 

Children in Years 3- 6 who are not yet phonetically secure also receive individual or small group phonics instruction, which from the use of regular and rigorous assessments, are carefully matched to meet their phonic need. 

Guided reading 

All children within school have regular guided reading sessions. Through group reading and reading tasks in EYFS all children explore books and reading in different contexts in a heavily supported way. In Year F2 and Year 1, the children follow the Little Wandle weekly reading programme of 3 sessions based on decoding, prosody and fluency and comprehension. In Year 2 and above, whole-class discussion and shared reading activities are based on the Think Aloud model; scaffolded and differentiated by need, which focusses on high quality modelling and book talk. These guided lessons provide a deeper understanding of what characters are thinking, how they are feeling and why they act the way they do as well as exploring authorial choices in terms of vocabulary, intent and sentence structure 

 Through careful questioning, children learn how stories and non-fiction writing is constructed and in doing so, develop their comprehension skills and their ability to better understand and interpret the books they read. Language, sentence structure and other writing devices and features are also explored to further develop children’s understanding and complete the circle of having a positive impact on their writing development. 

Reading Books 

All the children have reading books which are carefully matched to either their phonic or, once phonetically confident, fluency and comprehension level. In order to do this, we use a range of assessments, based upon our book banding system, National Curriculum and end of Key stage standards as well as reading speed and other teacher assessments. Children are encouraged to read regularly at home and then will read with an adult 1-1 at least fortnightly within school. Some children will read 1-1 with an adult more than that depending on need, age, and stage. These 1-1 reading times are really special as they allow for book talk as well as skills development at a very personal level. 

Reading for pleasure 

Reading is fundamental to everything we do, not just as part of our English curriculum We are aware of the impact it has on the development of children in all subjects as well as the cultural capital it can add to their lives. Class books, which are shared at story times, are chosen and mapped across the year groups to give our children exposure to an even wider range where children can immerse themselves in the pleasure of books and being read too. Children are encouraged to read independently, in pairs or in groups outside of our planned and taught reading sessions, to encourage this love of reading. Each class has a book area or library to promote and celebrate reading at all times. Year groups have central library areas and a whole school library is currently under development. Initiatives and incentives are designed to further promote reading for pleasure, including the opportunity to attend a reading café or taking home one of our reading for pleasure suitcases. 

Our whole school reading incentive challenge provides children with the opportunity to earn points for showing good reading behaviours, such as:

  • Bringing your book bag to school every day
  • Participating in class reading times, not just in guided reading but across all areas of the curriculum
  • Reading at home 
  • Taking care of our school libraries 
  • Making book recommendations
  • Doing additional reading around current topics across the curriculum 
  • Trying hard to hit reading targets

These children in year 6 have earned 50 points in their reading incentive challenge, and get to choose a book to take home and keep. 



Hugo the cat enjoyed listening to the children in F2 read their favourite stories during our Pet week in EYFS. 

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We also have links with our local library, and we endeavour to ensure that all children at the school have library cards. We visit the library regularly to continue to promote its use and to show children the opportunities available outside of school. 


From September 2022, we adopted The Write Stuff approach as a whole school. English lessons are taught in units that are planned around high-quality, challenging texts. The children are immersed in this engaging narrative (or non-fiction text), over several weeks, exploring characters, settings, storylines and themes. The writing skills developed in these lessons are carefully selected so that they form part of a whole-school skills progression. This allows children to master age-appropriate skills and enables the teachers to provide timely challenge or support where it is needed. 

We believe that children’s learning is enhanced when they are writing for a purpose. Because of this, we structure our units in a way that allows teachers and their classes to focus on one key writing purpose at a time – writing to entertain, persuade or inform. This approach means that children spend several weeks gaining a thorough understanding of how to write for a specific purpose and what skills to employ, whether this is writing a story, letter, diary, or leaflet, creating a fact file or recounting an event. 

Throughout school, we use the ‘Fantastics, Boombastics and Grammarsaurus  lenses’, part of ‘The Write stuff’ approach to help focus ideas and thoughts around elements of narratives and non-narratives, including, action, speech, feelings and noticing (observation) as well as using them as hooks to help up-level the vocabulary we learn and develop attached to each of those areas. 


We recognise the crucial importance of developing children’s oracy and the impact that this can have not only on children’s learning but their confidence, self-esteem, empathy and understanding too. Increased oracy impacts positively on behaviour and emotional regulation as well as resilience. We offer opportunities at all times for children to develop their fluency in speech through encouraging class, group or paired discussion, modelling speech, discussing and sharing stories. We encourage appropriate speech through play and other social situations. We plan for performance; speaking, listening, group discussion and drama activities are integrated into our teaching across the curriculum and are seen as fundamental to teaching and learning. We aim to enable our children to develop their speech and communication skills in order to give children the skills to justify ideas with reason; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; •select the appropriate register for effective communication; give well-structured descriptions and explanations, speculate, hypothesise and explore ideas, organise their ideas prior to writing. 


By immersing children in high quality texts and focusing on skills and the enjoyment of English, children develop an enthusiasm for the subject. They enjoy talking about their favourite books, discussing the stories they’re writing, and sharing their achievements with other children. 

Children’s books show that they continually adopt new writing skills as they progress through the school while drawing inspiration from the books they read in class. Children’s writing is assessed at the start of the year and at the end of each term. This formal assessment complements the day-to-day assessment that takes place in classrooms and in books. 

Children are also encouraged to assess their own work. Evaluating their own progress often feeds their eagerness to reach new targets and enables children to talk freely and enthusiastically about their next steps. Editing days, which allow children to make changes needed to improve their writing are specifically planned into each unit. 



At Nottingham Academy Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. Our aim is to ensure that every single child becomes literate and progresses in all areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

With regard to spelling, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand the nuances of meaning, and how to develop their understanding of and ability to spell a wide range of words. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. 

Our approach to spelling: 

  • Provides the children with spelling strategies that they can apply outside of school and take into the wider world, thus supporting our ambition to create life-long learners. 

  • Develops the children’s understanding of word meaning to unlock wider comprehension. 

  • Helps children to understand how words evolve and how the English language has changed due to the inclusion of Latin, Greek and Anglo-Saxon words. 

  • Allows children to make links between prior knowledge and builds on the foundations of phonics laid down in the Early Years. 

  • Provides the children with the opportunity to experiment and build words, as well as expand their vocabulary bank. 


At Nottingham Academy Primary, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. The importance of effective spelling is vital in our English Curriculum. Most people read words more accurately than they spell them. The younger the pupils are, the truer this is. 

We start teaching phonics in Nursery with Foundation for Phonics and begin daily Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised lessons in Reception and Year 1, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, we aim for all our children to be able to tackle any unfamiliar and decodable words as they read and spell. At Nottingham Academy Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside the phonics lesson and across the curriculum. We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. 

In Year 2, the children have daily Little Wandle sessions and spend five weeks reviewing  Phase 5 phonics. These five weeks were formerly known as ‘The Bridge.’ During these sessions, the children are taught to ‘think about spelling’ and complete the alphabetic code and learn the underpinning concepts of spelling. Once this learning is secure, children move onto spelling units, which follow a similar structure to Little Wandle, supporting children to make links to their phonic learning and helping them to accurately spell common exception words. Little Wandle spelling teaches children to consider etymology, morphology and grammar when spelling new words. 

From Year 3 onwards, we continue to build on the children’s understanding of the etymology and introduce them to the morphology of words (how words are structured and related to one another by a combination of form, grammar and meaning). This approach allows us to build on the foundations that have already been put in place in Key Stage 1 and allows for a more seamless transition between spelling strategies when moving between key stages. Children are supported in their understanding of basic morphological principles, which they can apply to the spellings of over half a million words. Where words are irregular, and do not follow the rules, we continue to use etymology (the stories behind the spelling of certain words) and graphic strategies to help children to learn these spellings. Spelling lessons take place 3 times-a-week and allow the children to immerse themselves into their new spelling prefix, suffix or root word, thus allowing them to form links between words and prior learning.  

Each week, during Morphological Monday, the children are introduced to a new root word, or prefix/ suffix. We discuss what these words mean and how adding them to specific words changes the meaning. On Word Wednesday, the children form new words based on the root word, or prefix/ suffix they were introduced to earlier in the week. This lesson allows the children to develop their vocabulary base and identify any patterns within the word group they are learning about. On the last day, the children delve deeper into the spelling and use a wide range of strategies to help them understand the meaning of the words. 


Character curriculum links to English 

Our character curriculum is explicit and implicit and underpins all educational activities at Nottingham Academy. 

In our English lessons children are encouraged to be self-motivated, have curiosity, and show persistence in the face of challenge. 

At Nottingham Academy Primary, we support our Literacy character curriculum further by celebrating success in assemblies, developing oracy further with Golden Bear or other characters going home, texts selected to support and promote diversity and using pupil voice to help shape our developing curriculums. Within EYFS, proud clouds are used to celebrate children’s literacy achievements at home and throughout the rest of the school a combination of rewards like incentives, including the reading incentive programme, stickers, certificates and other prizes are used to both celebrate and motivate. We have trained ELSA, emotional Literacy, staff who work with children around such areas as self-esteem and confidence, which in turn gives them a greater opportunity of success. 



At Nottingham Academy, we believe in the importance of all children being able to write with ease, speed and legibility to support their learning across the curriculum. Handwriting is a movement skill which, like reading and spelling, affects levels of written communication. Therefore, we ensure that this is taught directly by explicit modelling, explanation and opportunities to practice in all year groups across school, in an age-appropriate way and by following the school's handwriting policy. Handwriting sessions aim for all children to write with fluency, legibility and consistency, which will impact positively on their ability to write with speed and stamina across all areas of the curriculum.  



In the EYFS, children take part in activities that develop fine and gross motor skills. They begin with gross motor skills which later inform fine motor skills. These might include skills like putting on your coat, catching a ball, climbing, riding a scooter or dancing with ribbons. Pre-writing activities are available daily, which later develop into early pencil skills. These might include threading, using tools such as scissors, tweezers, rolling pins and paintbrushes. Children who need additional support to develop fine motor skills will receive regular ‘dough disco’ interventions which focus on developing the strength in hand muscles through various actions with dough.  

Children in EYFS also take part in regular handwriting sessions throughout the week when children will be taught and given time to practice letter formation. This will be practised further through access to a variety of mark-making media in continuous provision.  


Our school policy follows the Handwriting Progression, as set out in the National Curriculum. 

Year One 

Through regular taught handwriting sessions and through regular opportunities to practice in the provision provided, children are taught to:  

  • Sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly.   

  • Begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place.  

  • Form capital letters  

  • Form digits 0-9  

  • Understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways).  

Year Two  

Through regular handwriting sessions and through vast opportunities to practice writing and publishing work across the curriculum, children are taught to: 

  • Form lower-case letters of the correct size relative to one another.  

  • Start using some of the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined.  

  • Write capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters  

  • Use spacing between words that reflects the size of the letters. 

  • Once our children are secure in Phase 5 phonics, they will begin to use a cursive style and will be taught how and where to join letters in their handwriting sessions.  

Years Three and Four  

Through regular handwriting sessions and through vast opportunities to practice writing and publishing work across the curriculum, children are taught to: 

  • Use the diagonal and horizontal strokes that are needed to join letters and understand which letters, when adjacent to one another, are best left unjoined.  

  • Increase the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting [for example, by ensuring that the downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant; that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch]. 

Years five and Six 

Through regular handwriting sessions and through vast opportunities to practice writing and publishing work across the curriculum, children are taught to: 

  • Write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed by choosing which shape of a letter to use when given choices and deciding whether to join specific letters  

  • Choosing the writing implement that is best suited for a task.  

Opportunity and entitlement linked to English 

These activities support all aspects of our learning as we ensure that we try to make our teaching and learning as relevant and real as possible. This may include trips out of school based around texts and themes, theatre visits, library visits, community involvement through either letter writing, planning activities or visiting our local area to enable us to develop our wider understanding and vocabulary giving context to our learning. 

This supports our academic enrichment, stimulates intellectual curiosity and therefore enhances academic development and outcomes.