Speaking and Listening

At Heathfield there is a strong emphasis on Speaking and Listening as this forms the basis of being a competent writer. We aim to develop children who can express themselves clearly and creatively and can produce well-presented written work. From the Early Years children are encouraged to ‘show and tell’ or report their news orally. At every stage the children are given opportunities to talk in pairs or as part of a group in order to share ideas or express opinions thereby developing their vocabulary, their thinking and their command of English.

Writing, Grammar and Spelling

Handwriting is taught regularly and the whole school learns a common script. A correct pencil grip is encouraged from Nursery onwards and emphasis is put on neat presentation, accurate spelling and correct grammar. The Ginn Models for Writing Scheme is used throughout the school from Reception to Year 6 and Big Book Spelling is used from Year 3 upwards to teach correct spelling.

Early Years pupils use the Jolly Phonics scheme which combines actions with sounds, enabling the children to gradually build up their independent spelling skills. Writing is closely linked with reading and much written work begins with immersion in a text type.

The children are offered many opportunities to do drama, role play and ‘hot seating’ in order to develop their writing. Visiting writers, theatre visits and school productions help to enhance their creativity and develop their skills in writing, speaking and listening.


At Heathfield we believe reading is the key to all learning and as such our aim is to produce competent readers who enjoy the experience of reading and appreciate literature in all its varied forms.

Beginning in the Nursery, children are taught how to handle books correctly and lots of storytimes ensure children have a positive, fun experience right from the start. All children, including Nursery, visit our library each week to borrow story books to take home.

From a young age a variety of strategies are used to enable even our youngest children to begin reading independently. Jolly Phonics is introduced in the Nursery and pupils learn letters and blends in a visual, tactile and active way. This leads pupils confidently into reading and writing independently.

Our Reading Scheme in the Early Years is based upon the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme along with books from other structured schemes. Using this scheme ensures children from Reception to Year 6 have a wide range of reading experience including poetry, plays, stories and non-fiction. Teachers ensure children are reading a variety of texts through Guided Reading which also begins in Reception and follows through to Year 6. During these sessions small groups study a common text developing their reading skills with a focus on deepening their understanding.

We have an excellent library facility equipped with storysacks, stories on tape and a range of fiction and non-fiction which all children borrow on a weekly basis. We endeavour to provide books which will cater for every ability and interest including books for boys and reluctant readers.

We have regular book events, an extra-curricular book club and regular theatre visits and visiting storytellers and poets. We have strong links with parents who support reading at home.

The Library has internet access and hosts a number of activities such as Book Fairs, Storytime clubs and visits from authors and poets.

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