Harvey Road Primary School

Harvey Road Primary School

Be Happy : Show Respect : Seek Success

Harvey Road, Croxley Green, Herts, WD3 3BN


01923 773801




English lies at the heart of all learning at Harvey Road School. Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening together form the key components of human communication and it is through our ability to communicate that we learn from one another.  Our English curriculum inspires our children to become critical thinkers, confident speakers and competent readers and writers across the curriculum.

Our carefully planned curriculum ensures a range of activities and experiences which encourage children to be active participants both individually, in pairs or in groups with an intention of creating lifelong lovers of English.

Throughout the school year, we arrange additional enrichment opportunities such as visiting authors and poets, drama groups and theatre workshops and/or visits and we encourage our whole school community to get involved in a range of events to celebrate our passion for English.

Our English curriculum is constantly reviewed in order to implement new ideas to allow all pupils to thrive and succeed.


Phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading for all children at Harvey Road Primary school.  We have a systematic, synthetic phonics program which is delivered through fast-paced, interactive, fun lessons which start sharply in Nursery.

Our scheme follows the order for teaching the phonemes as set out in the DFE ‘Letters and Sounds’ document using the Ruth Miskin ‘Read Write Inc’ mnemonics as it teaches the children how to write the letter correctly at the same time as recognising and reading the phonemes.

Discrete, multi-sensory phonics lessons are taught daily and in the Early Years Foundation Stage, phonics is integrated through different activities throughout the school day both in the indoor and outdoor environments.

The careful sequence of teaching enables the children to learn through a four part lesson (including revisit and review, teach, practice, apply).  Teachers make phonics relevant and enjoyable by planning lessons that meet the need of their current cohort.  This helps the children to remember the sound and letter correspondences they have been taught so that children keep up rather than having to catch up.

In Year 1, children are taught new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for graphemes they already know.  When spelling words they will learn to choose the appropriate graphemes to represent phonemes and begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spellings of words.

Year 2 follow Herts ‘ESSENTIALspelling’ to learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for graphemes they already know.  It focuses on the teaching of spelling so that children understand how to apply patterns, strategies and knowledge to other words that will help them develop their spelling competence. Herts ‘ESSENTIALspelling’ continues to be taught throughout Key Stage 2.

Click here to see how to pronounce the sounds correctly


Research shows that children who read for pleasure on a daily basis develop a wider vocabulary, greater general knowledge and a far better understanding of other cultures. It is perhaps one of the single most important factors in a child’s development.

We aim to get children reading confidently and fluently as quickly as possible so they can make the transition from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ as well as developing a love of books and discovering the pleasure of reading to become life-long readers. 

As soon as children start in the Nursery they begin their reading journey.  They are taught to read through our systematic synthetic phonics programme which is closely matched to our core reading scheme, Schofield and Sims, My Letters and Sounds Phonics Readers.  Children are heard read regularly to ensure they have a closely matched book to read successfully at home.  

At Harvey Road School we believe in the importance of developing children’s reading skills as we want all of our children to become enthusiastic and avid readers with a passion for books.   This range of reading experiences the children encounter not only inspires a lifelong love of the written word, it also helps to develop their confidence, creativity and key literacy skills alongside wellbeing and relaxation.  All staff are reading role models who demonstrate and encourage a love for reading daily.

The table below shows how we have structured the reading experiences for our children:


The library is an inviting space where children can peruse and borrow an exciting range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books.  Our librarian ensures it includes up-to-date books and will purchase special requests. All children at Harvey Road, visit the library at least once per week.

Story time

Carefully chosen story books ensure children are read to every day. In the EYFS, there may be a new book each day whilst in other classes, books may take up to half a term.  Children can relax as they listen to both classic and contemporary fiction from authors which they may not yet have encountered on their own reading journey.

Class readers

Sets of 15 books are available for classes to read altogether. This allows children of all abilities to read or follow along with and join in with the book talk in class.

Book Week

Our Book Week celebrates our love of reading. The School Council help plan a range of exciting events which may include reading to a reading dog, shared reading or writing, dressing up or decorating the classroom door! There is also a home competition which brings families together,

Author visits

At least once per year, we welcome a visiting author or poet to our school. Not only do they share their work with the children, they often carry out workshops with classes which inspires them to read other books.

Guided reading

All children in Key Stage 1 and 2 carry out guided reading once per week with the teacher or LSA. These sessions allow children to access high quality instructional fiction, non-fiction or poetry texts where they are taught comprehension skills and to analyse in greater depth.  The most vulnerable readers experience two sessions of guided reading each week.

Reading Scheme

Our core reading scheme is Schofield and Sims My Letters and Sounds Phonic Readers as it is fully decodable and perfectly matches the progression of our specialised synthetic phonics programme from phase 2 to phase 5.

Book Bands

Once children have secure phonic knowledge, they move onto reading books that have been book banded. These introduce children to carefully selected books that appeal to all children to ensure they are exposed to a variety of different book styles and genres.

Free readers

Every child in Key Stage 2 has a reading book of their choice which they keep on their tables. This can be read throughout the day at appropriate times. Teachers discuss the children’s book choices with them.


Children who need additional support to become fluent readers receive help from our SEND team throughout the week. They may access different, specialist reading books as well as precision teaching or other recommended interventions.  Daily reading practise with the class LSA occurs for children who need it.

Book Club

Every half-term, our librarian runs a weekly book club for pupils in Key Stage 2.

Daily English lessons

Herts Essential planning has carefully selected rich, immersive texts for detailed exploration and to use as a stimulus for their own writing.


Reading across the curriculum

Children are taught to read so they can learn in all the different areas of the curriculum. They may be required to read a letter as first hand evidence in History, instructions in D&T or information about the life of a famous artist for example.

Reading Ambassadors

Two children from each class from Year 2 upwards meet monthly to discuss the best books and plan how to share this with the whole school.


Book corners

Each classroom has an inviting, well-stocked book corner which contains a wide variety of reading materials suitable for all abilities.

In the EYFS, there are books available for children to read both the inside and outside areas.



At Harvey Road School we recognise how important it is that children become skilled, confident writers so they can communicate effectively in the wider world.  We want them to be able to write with fluency and imagination and develop their own personal style.

From the earliest stages of emergent writing in the Early Years Foundation Stage, children are provided with a wide variety of opportunities to write stimulating, purposeful and relevant pieces of work across the different areas of our curriculum.

We follow the Herts Essentials for English which is a thematic ‘book based’ approach that enables children to be more engaged and make deeper connections with the texts.  The emphasis is on using high quality texts that promote inclusion and expand children’s vocabulary.   Children learn how to organise their own work across all genres so that it suits the purpose. Editing skills are taught so that children can reflect on and improve their own learning and the learning of their peers. 

Children know how to improve their writing through the use of the Harvey Road ‘I can write’ cards from the summer term of Year 2 onwards. These encourage children to evaluate their work and independently take the next steps.

Teachers model writing with their class, explaining the thought processes as they go, making links with phonics, spelling and grammar taught previously.


Poetry is a core element of the English Curriculum at Harvey Road Primary School.  Effective and engaging teaching of poetry occurs termly in all classes. Children learn modern and classic poetry, poetry from other cultures and poems that explore traditions and events from different periods of time. They are taught about different poetic elements and structures. Our library, class book corners and reading scheme all include poetry books.

Poetry encourages reading, inspires writing and helps children understand different perspectives, respect and understand others viewpoints. It helps children connect and find meaning in their own experiences and consider the intensity of their own thoughts and feelings on a subject.

Poetry helps build vocabulary and explores language. The freedom of poetry encourages writing and requires a level of sophistication as children consider the impact of their chosen words.  It is a form of self-expression and provides a creative outlet.  Poetry encourages children to experiment with language and provides another way to communicate.



Free verse


Free verse and acrostics

Year 1

Free verse, list poems and acrostics

Year 2

Free verse, shape and list poems

Year 3

Free verse, limericks and haikus

Year 4

Free verse and kennings

Year 5

Free verse, sonnets, cinquains and riddles

Year 6

Free verse and tankas

Spelling. Punctuation and Grammar

From Year 2 onwards, we follow Herts ‘ESSENTIALspelling’.  It focuses on the teaching of spelling so that children understand how to apply patterns, strategies and knowledge to other words that will help them develop their spelling competence.  It makes connections with and builds upon prior phonic knowledge and it is through children explaining what they have learnt about the patterns and processes of spelling that their ability to spell accurately will improve.

The sequences follow the four part daily phonics model of Review, Teach, Practise and Apply.  Unlike other resources, 'ESSENTIALspelling' places an emphasis on the Review stage of the teaching sequence. This is not, "What did we learn this week?" but instead, “What do we already know that might help us to spell words in this sequence?” The Review session is essential because it gives teachers an opportunity for assessment for learning and gives pupils the chance to track back to prior learning and build connections between existing knowledge and new knowledge.

Spelling, punctuation, and grammar – often called SPaG in schools – are crucial building blocks for children learning to speak, write, and listen. Having a good knowledge of grammar allows children to communicate their ideas and feelings, and helps them choose the right language for any situation. Children are taught about the way language works through their reading and writing and discuss the differences in spoken language and the written word.

Harvey Road School has designed a Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation progression grid that matches the National Curriculum expectations.  It carefully sequences the learning children will experience in each year group starting in Reception. The teaching of grammar is interwoven into English lessons with some more complex aspects taught in discreet lessons.

Grammar glossary for parents and children: Please click here Grammar Glossary

Another useful glossary which includes explanation videos and activities suitable for children and parents can be found here:



Handwriting is a skill that needs to be taught explicitly so that it becomes an automatic process that frees pupils to focus on the content of their writing.  Correct modelling of handwriting by the teacher is essential as the correct letter formation is key to perfecting a fluent handwriting style.

Children learn how to correctly form letters at the same time as they learn to recognise and read a phoneme in their phonics lessons. We use the Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc mnemonics.

We teach children a continuous cursive font at Harvey Road School as research shows it can help with learning spellings. This is through clearly modelling the letter formation and correct way in which to join the letters together. We do not issue worksheets or copy from workbooks as it is important to watch how a child writes as well as what they produce so any misconceptions can be addressed. 

Harvey Road Handwriting Awards

Each week in Celebration assembly, a child may be chosen from each class for a Handwriting Award for either excellent handwriting or good progress.  They show everybody an example of their work and then they are presented with either an exclusive Harvey Road Primary School pen or pencil which they can use in class.

Pen License

Children are allowed to write in pen when their writing is consistently joined and fluent, with even letters of the correct size and orientation and with correct spacing.  They will be presented with their ‘Pen license’ in assembly.  The vast majority of children achieve this during Year 3.

We want children to develop a comfortable and effective pencil grip from the start. This will enable them to develop stamina and write with ease, at pace and legibly. Writing should not hurt your hand or arm!

Teaching your child to hold their pencil correctly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM_dia8QGr0

At Harvey Road, this starts in Nursery and we refer to this as ‘tweaky beaky’.

Speaking and Listening

At Harvey Road School, we recognise the importance of speaking and listening not just in English lessons but throughout the whole curriculum.  It is central to most of our life experiences including forming relationships as well being at the heart of learning.

Speaking and listening allows us to communicate with one another and define and express our own thoughts, feelings and ideas about the world. Through this communication we bridge the gap between minds, going from our private experience of ourselves and the world to a shared experience. Speaking and listening allow us to interact with other people. Through interaction, bonds develop, relationships grow and ideas come into being.

The National Curriculum states ‘Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject.’ It recognises that ‘fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects’.

Pupils are taught to:

listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers

ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge

use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary

articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions

give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings

maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments

use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas

speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English

participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates

gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)

consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others

select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.


Supporting Parents

Every September we hold an information meeting for parents in Nursery and Reception which includes how to support children with phonics, reading and writing. It outlines our expectations as well as what is going to be covered.

At the start of every year we hold, ‘meet the teacher’ meetings in every class to share curriculum intentions including how phonics/spelling, reading and writing will be taught.  We share our curriculum brochures with parents at the start of every term which gives more detail about what will be covered in class.

In addition to this, we hold annual parents workshops to support the understanding of the teaching of phonics, grammar or reading.  These workshops might also focus on other curriculum areas including Computing, Safer use of the Internet of Mathematics for example.

 English Policy.pdfDownload
 Phonics Programme Presentation to Parents.pdfDownload
 Learning to Read through Phonics.pdfDownload
 Activities that will support phase 1 phonics.pdfDownload
 Examples of Phonics Planning at Phase 2.pdfDownload
 Phonics Phoneme Wall.pdfDownload
 Phonics Glossary.pdfDownload
 HRS Letter Formation.pdfDownload
 How To Hold A Pencil Correctly.pdfDownload
 Read Write Inc Mnemonics.pdfDownload
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