Charles Darwin Academy Trust Ofsted good 2017
Biggin Hill School, Bromley


English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.


The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

Literacy at Biggin Hill Primary School

At Biggin Hill Primary School we believe that children should enjoy their learning in order to become enthusiastic an independent readers and writers. To promote learning we plan effective literacy units based on high quality texts which are linked closely to the foundation topics covered in the Challenge Curriculum. Using real books and quality texts allows us to:

  • hook the children and fully engage and interest them
  • respond to reading activities to allow immersion in and exploration of the text, including picture exploration, book and writer talk
  • capture ideas and use activities which include drama and talk to support understanding of the text and to develop vocabulary, language and ideas for writing
  • provide possibilities for the contextualised teaching of grammar
  • use sentence games to develop creativity, vocabulary, language and grammar
  • produce a range of writing tasks which clearly show the children's understanding of their learning journey

In order to fully engage the children with their text they are provided with a hook to interest them. Different examples of these have been: shipwrecking the children on the field, sending them a mystery parcel, giving them a treasure map and receiving a postcard from the character in the text.

Literacy Coverage at Biggin Hill Primary School


The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:

  • word reading
  • comprehension (both listening and reading).

It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils' competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.


The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:

  • transcription (spelling and handwriting)
  • composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).

It is essential that teaching develops pupils' competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing.

Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.


  • Communication and language involves giving children opportunities to experience a rich language environment; to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves; and to speak and listen in a range of situations.
  • Literacy development involves encouraging children to link sounds and letters and to begin to read and write. Children must be given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest.

Children engage in learning primarily through first hand experiences and each of the seven areas is implemented through planned and purposeful play with a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities.

Learning and teaching is planned to enable the majority of children to achieve the Early Learning Goals for each area of learning by the time they move from the Reception into Key Stage One.

Phonics at Biggin Hill Primary School

Phonics is taught everyday which leads to early success in reading. We follow the Read Write Inc scheme for phonics which involves:

  • Children learning 44 sounds and their matching letters/letter groups.
  • Children learning to blend sounds for reading and segment words into sounds for writing.
  • Children are assessed regularly and are taught in ability groups so that the lesson can be tailored to their needs.
  • Sounds are taught in a specific order (not in alphabetical order) in order for children to be able to start blending the sounds and reading words as soon as possible.
  • Each sound has its own picture and phrase to remember it by.
  • Sounds are broken into 3 sets
  • Words where all the letters make the sound we expect are called green words e.g. c-a-t cat, sh-o-p shop
  • Words where some of the letters don't make the expected sound are called red words e.g. the, no, said.

Key Stage 1

The genres covered in this key stage are: Year 1 Year 2
  • Poetry
  • Narrative
  • Instructions
  • Fact files
  • Recounts
  • Persuasive writing
  • Diary entries
  • Explanations

These genres are covered through a number of texts such as:

  • Naughty Bus
  • Don't talk to the bus driver
  • The Owl who was afraid of the dark
  • Can't you sleep little bear?
  • The Three Little Pigs
  • Let's build a house
  • Meerkat Mail
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Beegu

These genres are covered through a number of texts such as:

  • The Once Upon a Time Map Book
  • The Day Louis Got Eaten
  • Man on the Moon
  • The Tin Forest
  • Lila and the Secret of the Rain
  • Mrs Armitage Queen of the Road
  • The Rabbit Problem
  • The Magic Bed

Lower Key Stage 2

The genres covered in this key stage are: Year 3 Year 4
  • Letters
  • Non chronological reports
  • Journalistic writing
  • Diary writing
  • Recounts
  • Poetry
  • Persuasive writing
  • Explanations
  • Narrative writing - myths and legends
  • Stories with historical settings
  • Play scripts

These genres are covered through a number of texts such as:

  • Stone Age Boy
  • Fox
  • Iron Man
  • James and The Giant Peach
  • Play Time
  • Aesop's Fables
  • The Mystery of the Mona Lisa

These genres are covered through a number of texts such as:

  • The Tin Forest
  • Escape from Pompeii
  • The Pied Piper of Hamlin
  • Archie's War
  • Creation Stories from Around the World

Upper Key Stage 2

The genres covered in this key stage are: Year 3 Year 4
  • Letters
  • Non chronological reports
  • Journalistic writing
  • Diary writing
  • Recounts
  • Poetry
  • Explanations
  • Narrative writing
  • Persuasive writing
  • Balanced arguments

These genres are covered through a number of texts such as:

  • There's a Boy in the Girls bathroom
  • Tuesday
  • The Gold in the Grave
  • King Kong

These genres are covered through a number of texts such as:

  • Kensuke's Kingdom
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Templeton Twins Have an Idea
  • Grimm's Fairy Tales

To Enrich the Curriculum

In addition to Literacy lessons, children at Biggin Hill Primary School benefit from a wide range of Literacy enrichment activities:

  • To encourage reading for pleasure we carry out reading assemblies. These consist of teachers going to different classes each week to read to them and discuss the books they have enjoyed.
  • The school has taken part in the Read for my school competition which encourages children to read on their computers at home to gain points and win prizes.
  • To raise the profile of reading for homework we have a reading stars competition for home reading where the children can win a certificate and prizes for completing books.
  • We take part in the annual World Book day each year encouraging children to take part by dressing as their favourite characters. They also carry out activities such as book reviews, writing book endings and shared writing stories across the year groups. A visiting author also talks to the children about their books and how they came up with their ideas.
  • Both key stages have access to fully stocked libraries where they can choose from a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. There is also library sessions available for each year group during lunch times where they can go in and enjoy reading in the libraries.

Curriculum Quicklinks