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Dartford Bridge Primary


Dartford Bridge Community Primary School recognises that teaching and learning in English is an essential part of the whole development of all children, including SEN and disadvantaged children, for their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively. The teaching of English is broken into three strands - Reading, Writing and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, with reading being the key to developing the other skills together with skills and knowledge development across all other curriculum subjects.

Our teaching and learning in English is intended to help mitigate the barriers to learning identified in the School Development Plan. Speaking and listening skills are encouraged at every opportunity through all lessons especially English and reading lessons. The expectation that any written work, including for topic work, is of the same standard as the writing in the children’s English books. Reading across the curriculum is also encouraged with topic related books being available in each class to help children relate their learning in English to learning in the foundation subjects.

At Dartford Bridge we aim that all pupils will leave Year 6 reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including monitoring and correcting their own errors; with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment; with an interest in words and their meanings.

We teach English – both reading and writing - daily from Nursery to Year 6 and base the content of our curriculum on National Curriculum guidelines.

By connecting our British Values through the teaching of English, we explore issues that affect us all in our lives and this helps the children develop skills they will need to be effective citizens now and, in the future,?e.g.?tolerance and respect are modelled through debates and discussions.


We encourage a love of reading through:

  • Daily guided reading sessions in Year 2 to 6.
  • Daily RWI sessions in Reception to Year 2.
  • Daily Class story.
  • Whole school texts used for English.
  • High quality texts used for guided reading and class story time.
  • Lexile scored class library in KS2.
  • Children take home book banded or lexile scored reading books.
  • Ensure children visit the school library weekly.
  • Book fairs (currently suspended due to covid).
  • Book Week.
  • Reading across the curriculum.
  • Parent reading workshops.
  • 100 read certificates.
  • Reading assembly (not currently happening due to covid).
  • Library visits.
  • Ensure children visit the school library weekly.

The teaching of reading starts in EYFS. In the nursery, the children are encouraged to learn texts which are read repeatedly.  The nursery staff use nursery rhymes to build key vocabulary and phonic awareness.  The children engage in a language and print rich environment.  This enables children to make connections between sounds and letter symbols. 

In Reception, the children have short, focused daily phonics sessions as part of the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme of systematic synthetic phonics. This continues throughout the year, becoming more formalised from term 2 (November).

The RWI programme is used daily throughout KS1, with children working in small groups with a trained adult. As part of this programme children learn to read real and ‘alien’ words and to write the corresponding graphemes for each sound.

During these sessions, children also read quality texts using their phonic awareness which enables them to embed their learning.  The children work in small groups according to their confidence and competence.  These groups are reconfigured on a regular basis in order to match the pace and progress of each child.  These regular reconfigurations also allow class teachers to identify where 1:1 interventions may be required. 

  • In KS2, if children have not completed the RWI programme, they work in small intervention groups or one-to-one with an adult in order to close the gap.
  • Throughout the school, from Y2 to Y6, there are daily reading skills lessons using the Reading Gems (One Education) which aims to develop the children’s reading skills in all areas – decoding the text, understanding word meanings from context and comprehension including inference skills. Texts are chosen at a level appropriate for the majority of the class with provision being made for children with additional needs. The PoS is structured with appropriate amounts of time being spent on the different skills for each Year group.
  • In order to further develop a love of reading, children are read to daily by the teacher in a timetabled session. Books are chosen for interest and to address the needs of the class and are often beyond the actual reading ability of some of the class. Books are also available in the classrooms that specifically connect to the current foundation subject topics and these are displayed so that children are encouraged to read them and develop their knowledge and understanding of the topic.
  • In KS2, children take home a banded book or an appropriate Lexile rated book and can choose another book from the school library which can be shared at home with parents. In this way, independent reading at home is a manageable challenge and is supplemented with other books to increase the enjoyment of reading a wider range of texts.
  • All children from Year 2 to 6 have a Scholastic Reading Pro account. Three times a year they sit a Reading Pro test which assesses the child’s decoding and comprehension skills in a series of differentiated questions. At the end of the test, each child receives a Lexile score and is able to create a personalised reading list of texts which interest them. These texts are available either as a physical book or online eBook in the Scholastic Library. Once read, there is a quiz which checks the child’s comprehension.  Staff are also able to assign books of interest to each child.

Reading at Home

  • Home reading is strongly encouraged and parent meetings and letters keep parents and carers informed of the school’s expectations and provision.
  • Home readers are colour banded so that children are given books that match their phonic knowledge which will enable them to read with confidence.  They are also expected to reread them and become familiar with them. In KS1, children take home a colour banded book and a library book of their own choice. The library book is a book that parents can share with their child. They also take home the RWI book which they have been reading in their RWI group. 


At DBCPS we want our children to develop a neat, fluent handwriting script therefore as soon as they have learnt to print each letter of the alphabet using the correct formation, ideally by the end of the Early Years, we introduce the continuous cursive script. There are many advantages to learning this style of handwriting including:

  • As Continuous Cursive letters naturally join, children only have to learn this one font for lower case handwriting.
  • Continuous Cursive letters flow rhythmically from left to right, aiding the speed and fluidity of the writing.
  • The starting and finishing points for all Continuous Cursive letters are easier to remember (they all start on the line and, other than a few exceptions, all finish on the line), which can be especially helpful for children with specific learning difficulties.
  • Teaching Continuous Cursive letters in family groups reinforces the shapes and directional pushes and pulls of the pencil needed to handwrite and can limit letter reversal issues, such as b & d.
  • The transition to joined writing is simple and occurs sooner, allowing children to concentrate on the composition of the writing, because they no longer have to think about how to form the letters.
  • Words are written in one set of movements, without the pen being taken off the paper, helping the motor memory store spellings. This is especially important for those irregular spellings which so many children find hard to commit to memory.

When assessing the quality of a child’s handwriting we look for the following points:

  • Correctly formed and orientated letters including lower and upper case letters and digits.
  • Letters positioned correctly on the line with clear ascenders and descenders.
  • Consistent size and spacing of letters and words.
  • Joined fluent style.

As children develop their own handwriting style, they will naturally adapt their letter style. You can see this in the samples of handwriting from Reception to Year 6 below. These samples were taken from activities carried out during Literacy week. Children were challenged to do their best handwriting while copying out a choice of poems. The focus was purely on handwriting so you may spot one or two spelling errors and one piece isn’t quite finished.


Our spelling lessons use the Twinkl spelling programme that follows clear patterns to aid understanding. Throughout KS2, a spelling rule or new letter sounds are introduced and relevant spellings are taught, e.g. through mnemonics, word sorting and spelling activities.

Key word banks, high frequency words, dictionaries and topic related vocabulary resources scaffold children as necessary. When marking, spellings are identified by teachers and support staff using an agreed code 

Speaking and Listening

From the very beginning of their time in school, children are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills through role play, discussions and debates. These extend the children’s vocabulary, strengthening the connections with their learning in English, foundation subjects and maths. These communication skills are further developed through to the end of KS2 by class discussions, paired and group work about reading books and in all lessons.


In EYFS, children are taught the letter graphemes as they learn the sounds in RWI and are encouraged to have a go at writing by sounding out words and recording the sounds they hear. This takes place during teacher led sessions and there are also plenty of opportunities during child-initiated sessions, with a range of materials and writing prompts available.

From Year 1 to Year 6, the teaching of writing is strongly connected to the current curriculum topic so that children are immersed in the topic and they are provided with a range of stimuli including relevant vocabulary, books, PowerPoint images, pictures etc

We follow the 2014 National Curriculum for guidance as to what is taught in each year group and, from this, have devised a specific structure for our school, detailing end of year expectations year by year. Units of work are based on different genres, and a purpose and audience for each piece of writing is decided from the outset. We ensure progression in complexity of tasks and expectations year on year.

Lessons follow a sequence from a Cold Write, which is used to assess their achievement at the start, through a series of linked Learning Challenges including analysis of a good example of the genre. Grammar and punctuation, together with the structural features of each genre, are then taught through a series of lessons, starting with the basics of sentence construction including full stops and capital letters. Children begin to identify word classes early on (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) and use this understanding in their writing. Teaching builds term on term and year on year using prior knowledge.

The final piece of writing – the Hot Write- is then written using learning from the previous sessions. This is written in draft form, is then edited and improved by the children before being written out neatly. Children are taught these skills using age appropriate strategies and children work with a purple pen to differentiate their work from adult marking.

Teachers provide regular constructive feedback through marking, which also promotes reasoning about the work that has been completed. Peer and self-assessment are an important part of our learning and peer discussion and marking is encouraged, with time planned into lessons for children to respond to marking and feedback.