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At The Federation of East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham Primary Schools, we pride ourselves on providing a creative and stimulating English curriculum that inspires children with engaging topics, challenging texts and creative approaches to reading and writing across all curriculum areas. 

Creativity is at the heart of our teaching and learning, and each term children are challenged with new and exciting approaches to reading, writing, spelling, grammar and phonics.


Literacy Masters


At our school we are striving to adopt a mastery approach to teaching and learning. We actively engage children in discussions about the learning process and endeavour to challenge them in ways that not just stretch them, but that deepen their awareness and experience, embedding learning in meaningful ways.  Children in our school are good at talking about their learning, and as we begin to adopt this approach more fully you will hear children talking about what mastery means to them and see evidence in our books of children taking that extra step to push the boundaries of their learning.

In literacy lessons this will manifest itself in the quality and challenge of texts we work on in class, the questioning and discussions that take place, and the way children are encouraged to develop a ‘voice’ through their writing. Awareness of audience is key to fostering mastery of learning in literacy and this is why our long term plan is structured around purpose,such as ‘writing to entertain’ or ‘writing to inform’, rather than through topics alone.


Current Literacy Projects

Children in Class 2 have just finished exploring the challenging and mystical book of ‘Skellig’ by David Almond. From the very first pages they were thoroughly gripped! It’s not an easy read at times – Skellig does some pretty revolting things – but with their ‘text detective’ hats on, they were able to dissect the text and take part in some rather deep and philosophical discussions. They wrote some fabulous ‘scientific classifications’ of Skellig, and wrote some insightful and empathetic pieces of writing about Michael, the central character.



In the second half of this term, children in Class 2 have been exploring picture books. They discovered that not only do they really inspire their thoughts and ideas, but they made them write better too!


‘The Red Tree’ by Shaun Tan inspired lots of evocative pieces of writing about feelings and emotions. They learnt how to read a picture just like a text and explore some of the hidden meanings below the surface. They concentrated a lot on ‘audience’ and experimented with different ways to affect the reader.









The book ‘Tuesday’ by David Wiesner inspired children in Class 2 in a very different way, and led on to write several non-fiction pieces such forensic reports and news articles about pesky flying frogs!







Reading and writing across the curriculum

Literacy learning at Kirkby Fleetham and East Cowton is not confined to formal English lessons, reading and writing are embedded across the school in all curriculum areas. 


Songwriting is a great vehicle for experimenting with words and expressing feelings. Children in KS2 have been writing some emotive lyrics and putting their words to music.


Mia wrote a powerful song titled ‘You’re a Shadow’ about a ghostly figure. Her lyrics were full of figurative language and beautiful imagery. Nel wrote a very heartfelt and emotive song about survival through difficult times called ‘Battleground’ which she put to music.



It is well documented that children’s progress in writing is echoed by their artistic abilities. Mark making with a variety of tools and media is essential for children to develop important fine motor skills, as well as creative and imaginative ideas.


Children are encouraged to write reflections about their artwork in their own personal sketch book.



ICT is embedded throughout all our literacy learning. With thanks to the excellent ‘Purple Mash’ programme, children have been publishing some wonderful news reports, leaflets and even written their own books. The beauty of this programme is children can log on at home and finish or edit their writing for homework. As all children have their own email account, they can email their work to their teachers to mark.




Wherever possible we embed spiritual, moral, social and cultural ideas and objectives into our teaching and learning. We understand how literacy, and writing in particular, is an important vehicle for children expressing their reflections and feelings, and exploring their own sense of self and place in the wider world.



Grammar is an integral part of the writing process and whilst children at Kirkby Fleetham are inspired to let their ideas flow, so too, are they encouraged to use grammar accurately to communicate their ideas at their best. We encourage children to view grammar not as something that hampers creative expression, but an excellent tool to help develop it. Grammar is taught as an integral part of literacy lessons, in particular through shared writing, but discrete sessions are also taught outside of literacy to embed more complex vocabulary.


Grammar Police!

In Class 2 Mrs Hume has recruited some young Grammar Police to patrol the classroom on writing days. They will be looking out for terrible grammar crimes such as missing capital letters and full stops (a non-negotiable in our class), and armed with an editing pen they will be using the hand of the law to gently enforce orderly sentences. An open crime scene investigation board has been put up in class, so if anyone has spotted any offenders, please call the grammar police on !!!. 



Please see phonics page


A Child-Centred Appraoch

At school we recognise that children learn in all kinds of different ways and that their needs can vary greatly. Throughout our literacy teaching we endeavour to meet the specific needs of all individuals through tailor-made topics, appropriate resources and one-to-one interventions. 



Our sometimes reluctant boy writers use ICT, big pens and big sheets of paper to help them structure their ideas in a way that best suits them.


Community Links

Children at Kirkby Fleetham enjoyed a lovely afternoon exploring the community library in the village hall.



For further information about English in our school, please contact our Literacy Subject Leader Kirsti-Anna Hume.


Recent reading and writing projects include:


A joint federation writing day exploring machines, mechanisms, explanation texts and inventions.



Read about Thomas’s ‘Elemental Compressor’, Darcy’s ‘Time Turner’ and Will’s ‘YOY Homework Genrator!’


Visiting the Poetry Doctor: Frankie wrote a healing poem to cure Toby’s sleep problems and Tara wrote a verse to cure Darcy’s sudden bursts of temper!



Medicine Man - The Healing Power of Poetry.


Shakespeare in the Forest.


Class 3 children at Kirkby Fleetham preparing their dramatic Shakespearian scenes before joining East Cowton children for ‘Shakespeare in the Forest’.





Click here to view the national curriculum

Click here to view the literacy long term plan

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