Iver Heath

Nurturing happy, healthy, confident learners in a safe, rich learning environment

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  • 'Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire' WB Yeats
  • 'Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world' Nelson Mandela


English at Iver Heath Infant School and Nursery


We believe that literacy is at the very centre of all children’s learning. It has an essential role across the curriculum and helps learning to be coherent and progressive. Speaking, listening, reading and writing are crucial life skills and are integral to the enjoyment and understanding of all that we do at school.

We endeavour to give the children a sound basis in English so that they can become confident and literate members of society.


 To enable children:

  • to fulfil and extend their potential through a challenging and inspirational curriculum;
  • to speak clearly and confidently and listen carefully to what others have to say;
  • to express themselves articulately, creatively and imaginatively;
  • to read a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction texts fluently, independently and critically;
  • to develop a love of reading and to discover different authors, cultures and genres;
  • to write with interest and enjoyment;
  • to write fluently and independently for a range of purposes and audiences;
  • to spell and punctuate correctly according to age related expectations;
  • to develop neat, joined up handwriting;
  • to use language skills across the curriculum.


The school has adopted a creative curriculum approach to teaching, which has led to English being taught through both dedicated English lessons and through lessons in other subjects. We structure lessons so that they are suitably flexible so as to meet the learning needs of all children in the context of the subject being taught. The English Curriculum team work together to oversee the subject.

 Having good English skills plays an important part in being able to access the rest of the curriculum and so key literacy skills are reinforced in lessons, interventions, specific direct teaching and marking across the subjects.

  • Teachers plan half termly, with more detailed planning from the National Curriculum 2014, Primary National Strategy and the Early Years Foundation Stage included in weekly plans.
  • There is a daily English lesson in Key Stage 1 based on the National Curriculum, which is developed around the current topic in each year group.
  • The English Curriculum team is responsible for monitoring, assisting and advising in the implementation of English work throughout the school.
  • There is a governor with a responsibility for English.
  • The subject is taught mainly within the classroom and outdoor area by the class teacher with support from LSAs.
  • Support staff work with individuals or groups of children as appropriate.
  • Teacher resources are kept in resource areas. Most pupil resources are kept in classrooms, accessible to pupils.  All children follow a colour coded scheme called We Love Books. The books are housed in the Reading Zone (pink onwards) and in the Reception resource area (red, white and yellow) and include a variety of genres. Children from Reception onwards have lists of books at their individual level and staff mark titles off as they read them, either at school or at home. Reading books are sent home daily. Class teachers decide when it is appropriate for a child to move on a level. The books become more challenging as the children progress through the levels. All classes have small book areas/corners where individuals can go to enjoy a read.ERIC (Everybody Reading In Class) When children read to teachers on a 1:1 basis comments are made in individual diaries that celebrate what a child does well and inform parents of areas requiring practice in order for children to progress further.
  • When reading children will be expected to:
  • Individual 1:1 Reading
  • All children in Foundation and Key Stage 1 have timetabled ERIC sessions as a whole class. All children read from individual copies of the same text at the same time and class teachers use VIPERS questioning techniques (Vocabulary Inference Prediction Explain Retrieve Sequence). Children in Reception use texts in a big book format at the start of the year. ERIC is introduced in Nursery after October half-term and children read from a large text. Smaller texts are used when appropriate. 
  • Reading
  • explain and justify their ideas;
  • make predictions;
  • offer critical comments;
  • use their knowledge of phonics to read new words.



  • In Nursery, if children are ready, they will begin to take a reading book to read with someone at home.
  • Some Nursery children who are ready take home Phase 2 phonics word cards to learn with someone at home.
  • Children have access to a high quality range of books.
  • Parents are encouraged to support their children’s reading via the borrow bag scheme.


  • In Reception all children take a reading book home daily. Some of them do not include words; these are intended to be shared with someone at home in order to enhance storytelling and inference skills. Teachers will read with each child at least once every three weeks and will make a comment in their reading record book to inform parents of what the child did well and what the parents can do to help their child make further progress.
  • All children in Reception take home CVC and high frequency key word cards to learn with someone at home.
  • Once children know their first 10 sounds they will take home phonic based reading books containing these sounds.

 Key Stage 1

Year 1

  • Teachers aim to read with each child at least once every fortnight.
  • Throughout the Spring and Summer terms children work on comprehension activities, which may be in a written form or orally through ERIC and independent reading sessions.

 Year 2

  • Teachers aim to read with each child at least once a fortnight.
  • Children change their finished reading books if they have read to an adult as soon as they arrive at school.
  • Children are given opportunities to use their reading skills across the curriculum.
  • During ERIC and independent reading children are supported and assessed on their comprehension skills.
  • Throughout the Spring term the children are given practice questions and past papers to prepare them for the KS1 SATS.  

Our reading scheme is initially phonics based and consists of a variety of fiction and non-fiction from different publishers including Collins Big Cat, Oxford Reading Tree and National Geographic.


In all year groups Phonics is taught for 20 minutes daily, primarily through Letters and Sounds and supplemented by Jolly Phonics.


  • In Nursery, children use Jolly Phonics and the Letters and Sounds programme, starting with exploring sounds in the environment at Phase One. The teacher introduces the sounds to the whole class and LSAs model and reinforce these throughout the week. As the children’s phonic ability progresses, they access Phase One and Phase Two phonics in smaller key groups. Blending and segmenting is taught orally and modelled in written forms as appropriate.


  • The Reception classes use Jolly Phonics and Letters and Sounds to learn phonic sounds and they start to use them in their writing and reading.
  • All children in Reception are given a sound book to take home and learn with an adult at home. These books are updated whenever new sounds have been taught.
  • Children start Phonics at Phase 2 and aim to get to Phase 4 by the end of the Summer term.
  • In the Autumn term children are taught altogether as a mixed ability class for the first part of each phonics session and then they split into groups to practise. As the year moves on the children are put into ability groups in order to provide appropriate support and challenge.

 Year 1

  • Year 1 continues where Reception stopped. Some children need to repeat and reinforce sounds from Reception, while others move into Phase 5.
  • We aim to teach all children Phase 5 by the end of Year 1.
  • After an initial assessment, children in Year 1 are split into 2 ability groups and these are taught by a class teacher. Intervention groups will run to consolidate Phases 2 and 3.
  • Mid-year, children in Year 1 are assessed on previous Phonics Check papers in order to prepare them for the test in June and to identify children who are at risk of not meeting the required standard.
  • Phonics homework will be sent home weekly as spellings to consolidate the children’s phonic learning.

 Year 2

  • Children in Year 2 are taught in at least 4 ability groups, led by adults who have had specific Phonics training.
  • We aim to get all children working in Phase 6 during Year 2 as this phase supports the grammar curriculum and helps children to improve spelling skills.
  • Phase 6 phonics will also be taught as part of the SPaG component of literacy lessons to ensure that the Year 2 spelling curriculum is accessed by all.
  • Children who did not achieve the required standard in the Year 1 Phonics Check are given targeted intervention at the beginning of Year 2 in order to allow them to catch up. This intervention may be needed all year and is assessed on a half termly basis.


Children begin writing with mark making in Nursery and progress to a more structured writing style in Reception and Key Stage 1.

In all year groups pupils are taught in both ability groups and mixed ability groups within their class.

We aim for all children to be writing cursively by the time they leave Key Stage 1. Children in Reception form their letters in the style of the Sassoon Primary font. Year 1 introduce pre-cursive lead ins and lead outs and children learn a fully cursive style in Year 2.

Children’s writing is celebrated in all classes across the school and is displayed where children can see it and discuss it.


  • In Nursery opportunities for mark making and writing are available throughout each session. Children are free to select these activities and produce work of their own choice, but adult led writing activities regularly take place to encourage early development of emergent writing.
  • Each child has a Fun Write book to encourage free mark making and to develop fine motor skills.
  • Children are provided with an area where they can display their own writing.
  • In the Foundation Stage a lot of work is done to develop pupils’ fine motor skills in readiness for writing. Regular opportunities are provided to encourage recognition, copying and tracing of the children’s first names, if appropriate.
  • During the summer term more structured support is given to enhance early sentence construction, both as a group and individually.
  • Parents are encouraged to support their children’s writing development via fine motor borrow bags and the Nursery parental engagement scheme.


  • In Reception, guided writing is used to support children in their development of writing. It is undertaken in small groups, led by an adult, and with a targeted outcome in mind.
  • Shared writing is used to model what writing should look like and to show the children the process of writing. Teachers will use this time to elicit children’s ideas and form them into the target form of writing for a particular lesson. Children will then have access to this class piece when they go to guided and independent writing activities
  • Handwriting is taught regularly. In Reception the children learn to form letters in the style of the Sassoon Primary font.

 Key Stage 1

  • In writing sessions children are given opportunities to write in a variety of genres and forms e.g. stories, poems, riddles, letters, journals, lists, labels, invitations, posters, menus, news, non-fiction reports, instructions and playscripts.
  • Iver Heath Infant School and Nursery is a Storytelling School. This initiative means that children will not necessarily write every day in English as they will be taking part in drama and talking activities in order to firmly embed the stories they are learning in preparation for writing tasks. On days where they do not write in English lessons, writing will be done in other subjects.
  • Handwriting is taught in discrete sessions alongside practice across all subjects. It is also sent home as a weekly home work in Year 2.
  • Learning intentions are made clear to the children and processes are demonstrated.
  • Children have opportunities to write collaboratively in different groupings eg. pairs, small groups etc.
  • Well focused and open questioning involves and motivates children and promotes discussion.
  • Children are encouraged to improve their own learning and performance by meeting individual targets or responding to marking in their books (see Marking Policy).
  • Children are offered opportunities to use technology to aid writing.
  • Each child has a Writing Journal, which is a free space to write without being judged. These books are not marked and children can choose what they write about. Children are aware that teachers will check through them once in a while due to child protection responsibilities but they are under no obligation to share what they have written with others. Journals are sometimes used as part of other lessons for preparation for writing.
  • Spelling  Spelling is taught primarily through phonics, where the children are taught to spell simple CV and CVC words, building to CCVC, CVCC words by the end of Reception. Key words are sent home in Reception for the children to read and they are encouraged to learn to spell them as well. 
  • Key Stage 1
  • Topic words and high frequency words are on display in all Reception classes.
  • Foundation Stage 
  • Spelling is an integral part of the English curriculum. It is a vital skill to acquire so that children are able to communicate effectively in writing with a range of audiences, and are able to complete a range of tasks to the highest standards.
  • Spelling tests are conducted on a weekly basis in all KS1 classes. The amount of words a child receives is based on their phonic and writing ability. The words that children are given to learn follow on from the previous week’s phonics lessons and also include words from the English appendix of the 2014 National Curriculum. Sometimes there are words linked to the class topic.
  • All children in Year Two have a spelling bookmark that they have access to in writing lessons across the curriculum. This bookmark includes words that teachers have noticed the child struggles with. When marking writing, teachers add to the bookmark as they deem appropriate. Children use the bookmark as their first port of call when they are struggling to spell a word.
  • In Year 2, children who are proficient at cursive writing use the words from their bookmarks to practise their handwriting and spelling during handwriting sessions.
  • Common Exception Words are on display in all KS1 classes. These are on the walls and on spelling mats on the tables. Children also have access to topic words on spelling mats and on topic displays.
  • In Year 2 children have access to dictionaries, which they can use to look up words. Teachers model how to use these at the beginning of the year and refer to their use throughout the year.
  • At the beginning of every academic year, parents are provided with the Common Exception words for their year group and are reminded that the children must be able to read and spell these words by the end of the year.
  • In KS1 there are intervention groups for children who find spelling a real challenge.
  • Children in KS1 continue to learn to spell through their Phonics lessons, and once into Phase 6 this is reinforced through grammar lessons, which are based on the 2014 National Curriculum.

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening are taught throughout the school in a cross curricular manner. We believe it is essential that children have a firm foundation in speaking and listening in order to achieve their best in reading and writing. All children have the opportunity to participate in whole school productions each year when they sing and speak to an audience.

Foundation Stage

  • In Nursery children work on their listening skills in Phase 1 of the Phonics programme where they learn to identify and discriminate between different sounds in the environment and in Phase 2 where they begin to identify sounds in words. The children develop these skills during circle time activities and free choice.
  • In Nursery, speaking skills are developed through storytelling, small group work and rhyme. All children take part in the Spirals programme.
  • Children who are identified as needing extra support in speaking receive intervention in the form of Chatter Monkeys, language and communication groups or individual interventions, as appropriate.
  • In Reception children build on the work they did in Nursery and further develop their storytelling skills by imitating and innovating stories they already know. They continue with listening skills in Phonics in order to identify sounds in words to help them with their reading and writing.
  • In Reception children develop their speaking skills by sharing their treasure boxes with each other once a week. Every day a class teddy is taken home and each day the children take part in a question and answer session about the adventures the bear had the night before.
  • Children are given the opportunity to make story boxes and bring them into school where they will tell the story to the rest of the class using the props in the box.

Key Stage One

  • In Key Stage 1 children work on their listening skills throughout the curriculum and through talk partner work.
  • In Key Stage 1 speaking skills are developed through storytelling. It builds on the work done in the Early Years by developing vocabulary and including elements from grammar lessons.
  • Throughout the year children in Year 2 have timetabled sessions where individuals make a presentation and recite a poem to the rest of the class. The audience has the opportunity to ask the speaker questions related to the presentations.


Inclusion and Diversity

  • In whole class teaching differentiation for all pupils occurs through:- well-focused and challenging questioning;- high expectations encouraging pupils to elaborate, suggest, make observations, reflect and speculate;
  • - thinking time.
  • - praise of individual contributions;
  • - discussion;
  • In individual, paired or group work differentiation will take place by resources, variety of tasks, response and support.
  • More able children in English are identified by the class teacher and their learning is enhanced.
  • Children with special educational needs (SEN) and English as an additional language (EAL) are supported using a variety of support materials suggested by class teachers, SENDCO, The Specialist Teaching Service and other outside agencies. For children with physical disabilities, we endeavour to secure appropriate apparatus in order for them to access the curriculum and we consult with relevant outside agencies.
  • We ensure that all English work shows positive images of the gender groups in society. We celebrate the contribution that other ethnic groups and cultures have made to English. We use a variety of texts to support this.
  • Equal Opportunities 
  • We aim to provide equity of opportunity throughout our maths curriculum to ensure that all pupils irrespective of irrespective of ethnicity, attainment, age, disability, gender, religion, belief / non belief, socio-economic status or background are able to develop their maths skills to their full potential. We incorporate mathematics into a wide range of cross-curricular subjects and look to support any groups identified as needing additional support.


  • It is our school policy to provide parents and carers with opportunities to work with their children at home.
  • All children bring a reading book home daily.
  • Sound books that reinforce phonics are sent home weekly in Reception.
  • Children in Year 1 and Year 2 bring home weekly spelling lists to learn.
  • English activities and worksheets relevant to what is being taught in class are sent home regularly in Year 1 and weekly in Year 2.
  • There are suggestions for useful and appropriate websites and apps on the computing page on our school website. All children have at home access to the literacy teaching and games on Discovery Espresso and Purple Mash.

Health and Safety

  • All staff ensure that Health and Safety regulations are adhered to when using equipment such as interactive whiteboards and CD players etc.   


  • Teachers assess pupils’ progress both formally and informally.
  • Each child is assessed in relation to criteria given by Development Matters statements from the Foundation Stage Curriculum, the Foundation Stage Profile and the Interim Assessment Criteria for Year 2. All these criteria form the basis for the individual year group English Learning Ladders that were developed after the removal of levels in 2014 and have been updated in November 2017.
  • We use our English Learning Ladders in each year group to assess what pupils have achieved and from this plan what they should do next.
  • Every year group carries out a baseline assessment in September and then there are 2 further assessment points throughout the year - in February and June when children’s progress is monitored. However, assessment is ongoing and conducted on a daily basis. If a teacher feels a child is not making sufficient progress, interventions will be put in place immediately regardless of whether it is at an assessment point or not.
  • In KS1 each half term we plan a formal review of the progress made by each pupil and we set individual and group targets.
  • National assessments are carried out at the end of Reception and Year 2.
  • We assess Year 2 children based on the Interim Framework for Assessment, which has been incorporated into the Year 2 Learning Ladders and use the exemplification materials to support our judgements.
  • We prepare pupils for the KS1 SATs so that they can achieve as well as possible and try to make the process fun. KS1 SATs results reinforce teachers’ own assessments.
  • Our Marking Policy reflects the importance we place on immediate assessment and feedback.
  • In line with the school assessment policy we take part in moderation at local level with other schools in the area (FISH group), and at County level.
  • Class Writing Assessment Portfolios are kept in Reception and Year 1. These contain an example of unaided writing for each child at least termly showing the level of progress achieved. In Nursery, examples of writing are added to show progress when appropriate.
  • Alongside teacher assessment, children in Year 1 are assessed using the Year One Phonics Check materials as set out by the Government. Children who do not meet the required level in Year 1 will be assessed again in Year 2.  

Monitoring, Evaluating and Development

  • Planning in all classes is available for scrutiny by the English Curriculum team when required.
  • The English Curriculum team will be responsible for work sampling. Classroom observation will take place by the English Curriculum team and/or the Headteacher.
  • SLT monitor standards in English through a combination of learning walks, observations, books scrutinies, formal and informal conversations with teachers, pupil review meetings, in-school moderation and data collection.
  • Reporting to Parents
  • We hold two parents’ consultation evenings during the year, one in the Autumn term and the other in the Spring term. Written reports are given to parents at the end of the Summer term and parents have the opportunity to discuss these with the class teacher if they choose.
  • We have an open-door policy to discuss strengths and strategies to support learning in all areas of English. 
  • The Governing Body 
  • There is a nominated English governor
  • Governors monitor the standards in English via governor visits, PPCC committee meetings and Full Governing Body meetings. One or more of these meetings happen each half term.
  • Policy to be reviewed in three years or earlier if necessary. October 2019