The school uses its own structured Phonic Programme to teach spelling and reading. Pupils are taught to spell by following a programme which teaches and tests all the letter groups in the English language, plus lists of sight (irregular) words. Every week a new rule is learnt and incorporated into a dictation.

Dictation is used to test spelling ability rather than word lists. This ensures that rules previously learnt are practised and not forgotten. It also teaches the pupils the correct use of punctuation, sentence construction, and grammar. When all the rules have been learnt and tested; lists of words compiled from the most common mistakes in exam papers, are used to reinforce pupils’ knowledge of irregular spellings.

Independent reading is encouraged from Year R. Pupils learn to break down the word into its component sounds. Each child has their own Reading Rules folder which they progress through at their own speed. This enables them to use their ‘word-attack’ skills to read words they have never seen before. Fluent readers read from many types of literature e.g. reference books, newspapers, speeches, plays, modern and classical novels and poetry. All pupils borrow a library book once a week.

Spoken language is developed in many ways. Pupils prepare a talk for the class on a chosen topic, which they research themselves. After the talk they answer questions from the class and teacher. Discussion and debate, defending a point logically (without becoming angry) expressing opinions on current events and interviewing each other, are some of the many ways that pupils learn to become articulate and express themselves appropriately.

Creative writing, and writing for information, are taught from Year R. Pupils start by writing a simple diary or story. Older children write informative articles, letters and factual accounts. They develop creative writing in many areas such as poetry, stories, letter writing and play scripts. Children edit their own writing and learn to reproduce it using a word processor.

Grammar and punctuation are taught in Year R with the use of capital letters, full stops, nouns and verbs. By Year 6 pupils are expected to successfully identify nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions and prepositions. They punctuate text using full stops, commas, speech marks, question marks, exclamation marks, paragraphs and apostrophes for possession and abbreviation. Alphabetical order and the use of a dictionary, are taught in the Infant Classes and the use of a Thesaurus in the Junior School.