Literacy/English at Villa Real School promotes high standards of language/communication and literacy, by equipping pupils with the very best command of the spoken/augmentative/alternate and written word.

The Literacy/English curriculum is progressive and sequenced, building upon prior knowledge with new skills and knowledge, whilst ensuring pupils/students revisit and recall prior skills and understanding.


Literacy (primary) and English (secondary) lessons, aim to develop pupils’ spoken language/communication, reading, writing and vocabulary, as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject.


Literacy/English are both subjects in their own right, and the medium for teaching across the whole curriculum. Emphasis is placed on the development of communication throughout the entire school day.


The need to express ourselves is a human right. We feel that all students have the desire to mark make/write and should have daily opportunities to do so. Through a number of differentiated resources, students will improve the mechanics of their writing, develop functional writing skills and allowed to write as an expression of their own identity and personality.


We aim to develop pupils/students love of books, through widespread reading for enjoyment or/and being read to. We are determined that every child will learn to read. Reading, including the teaching of systematic, synthetic phonics, is taught in every class and from EYFS.  In circumstances of severe medical conditions, differentiated lessons focus on a sensory love of books. The sequence of reading books is a cumulative progression, and closely matched to ability and age.  



At Villa Real, Literacy is taught up to end of Key Stage 2 and then English in Key Stage 3, 4 and 5. The curriculum is designed and sequenced across the whole school.


Every class will have an English/Literacy every day and a Phonics lesson daily. Class managers ensure that activities are engaging and appropriate.  All lessons are personalised according to pupils’/students’ needs and ability.


All classes follow the school, scheme of work which uses the national curriculum as a benchmark, in a bespoke and individualised way. Planning extends beyond the NC to meet the needs of our pupils/students. Pupils on pathway 1 follow the EYFS Statutory Framework Literacy curriculum. Pupils/students on Pathway 2 follow our Literacy/English Scheme of Work, delivered in a multi-sensory way.


Pupils/students on pathway 3 and 4 follow the NC.   In Key Stage 1 and 2, pupils work towards pre-key stage standards and NC SATS. In Key Stages 3, 4 and 5 students work towards AQA Entry level English. Students who are ready, sit AQA Entry Level English 1/2/3 exams from year 9 in the summer term. For those students who are ready, preparation work for GCSE English will be delivered.  All classes have a set text which are chosen to encourage a love of reading for pleasure, to be challenging and age-appropriate. These texts are chosen to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. These texts reflect our multi-cultural and diverse society.


Through the reading of this text, the following will be looked at in an individualised way, where appropriate:

  • Learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries

  • Making inferences and referring to evidence in the text

  • Knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension

  • Checking students understanding to make sure that what they have read makes sense

  • Knowing how language, including figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, presents meaning

  • Studying setting, plot, and characterisation, and the effects of

  • Making critical comparisons across texts

  • Using the text as a starting point, students will be taught to


Write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including:

  • Well-structured formal expository and narrative essays stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing

  • A range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters, summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail

  • Applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form

  • Drawing on knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing

  • Plan, draft, edit and proof-read through considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended


When it is appropriate pupils are taught to write independently using techniques such as their phonic knowledge and word banks. They are taught spelling, punctuation and grammar as outlined in the National Curriculum and are given the opportunity to write for a variety of purposes and for different audiences.


Speech and Language Therapists provide further support to some pupils and deliver targeted intervention.  They also provide class managers with targets and activities that can be incorporated into everyday practice, and also completed during English/Literacy lessons.


We have a wide and varied calendar of visits and visitors to enrich learning and extended the curriculum outside the classroom. These include, Theatre visits, Punctuation Man and visits to libraries.


Our school library is used to enhance our reading offer. From October 2019, Pupils/students have access to the library every week to choose additional books.  Students also have the opportunity to act as librarians.


Where appropriate, students will:

  • Discuss reading, writing and spoken language with precise and confident use of linguistic and literary terminology


Pupils who can, should be taught to: speak confidently and effectively, including through:

  • Using standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion giving short speeches and presentations, expressing their own ideas and keeping to the point

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Literacy is taught both as a discrete subject as well as embedded into all other subjects. Literacy is a functional life skill that is essential for independence.


Within Literacy/English lessons, pupils/students will be taught writing, reading, phonics and communication. All lessons are individualised and personalised to the students’ needs and abilities. All pupils/students have access to reading schemes and follow age appropriate/reading age appropriate schemes. Some pupils/students also have access to specially adapted story packs which enable pupils/students to access literature through sensory means.


To teach effectively, staff need to reflect upon their practice and understand why they do what they do and in what way. A key element of pedagogy in English/Literacy is knowledge, and this includes knowledge of the curriculum, of pupils, of factors that affect teaching and learning, of how to teach the curriculum and of one’s own teaching skills. Staff’s knowledge influences their decision-making and influence the way in which they organise their teaching and their class room.  The way in which staff act affects the way in which their pupils/students learn and their pupils’/students perceptions of them. EHCP targets and therapies must be central to the curriculum and in the way the subject is taught.

The curriculum is mapped via a progression model to develop knowledge, skills and understanding, however in rare cases some complex pupils including those with degenerative conditions, may have planning which aims to sustain.


Assessment at Villa Real School is continuous and of the whole REAL curriculum. Assessment is during and after learning and to ensure and assure progress for all. Assessment starts at each child’s unique starting point. Our assessment schedule focuses on moving our pupils/students onto the next stage of their learning and moving between key stages and pathways; and for life beyond school. Assessment is based on EHCP REAL objectives.


Progress of all pupils/students learning is recorded and monitored using B squared on either engagement or Progressions Steps, and examined in line with individual targets.


Entry Level exams are assessed by AQA. Every class uses ongoing assessment to identify pupils/students who fall behind. Swift interventions and support is given immediately. Phonics progress is evaluated every 4 weeks. Where appropriate pupils access Phonic screening and SATs exams.


Pupils/students who are working below the standard of the National Curriculum assessments and not engaged in subject specific study are assessed using the Engagement Model. At Villa Real we use this across all key stages to assess the individual progress of these pupils/students.

Literacy/English lessons will be planned and delivered to develop these pupils’/students’ exploration, realization, anticipation, persistence and initiation.


The English/Literacy Coordinator monitors the planning, participates in regular learning visits and work scrutiny’s, Pupil voice is used to evaluate book choices and areas that need to be revisited to address for misconceptions.  and moderates’ pupil work giving feedback to class teachers each term. Subject Governors meet with the coordinator and visit lessons and review work regularly as part of the whole school QA schedule. Pupils voice is also key in planning topics and book selections.


The subject coordinator meets with other English teachers across County Durham to look at work from pupils in different schools and moderate work together. All year 2 and year 6 work is moderated at county meetings. This moderation and sharing of good practice is crucial to the development of the subject.