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Sawley Junior School


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  • Headteacher: Mrs A Burton
  • Deputy Headteacher: Mrs L Taylor



at Sawley Junior School


OFSTED Inspection February 2023

'Leaders prioritise reading. They make sure that pupils are exposed to a wide range of different texts. Pupils enjoy choosing books at the library. They are pleased when they make progress with their reading. Pupils enjoy the annual ‘Wordsmith week’ when authors visit the school. Pupils who are at the early stages of learning to read get help to catch up. Leaders use assessment well to ensure that teaching focuses on what pupils need to learn next. They make sure that books match the sounds that pupils are learning.'



What do we want SJS children to learn?

At Sawley Junior School we support all of our pupils to be capable readers, writers, spellers and speakers, who can transfer their English skills to other subjects and who are prepared for the next steps in their learning. We nurture them as eloquent and articulate speakers and writers, who learn and use a wide and purposeful vocabulary. Our intent for the teaching and learning of English is to motivate, support and challenge the pupils, to engage them into a love for reading, writing and discussions.


We follow the National Curriculum 2014 for English and strive to provide our children with a high quality, responsive English lessons. We adapt our teaching to meet the needs of all learners and ensure they are fluent in the fundamentals of English. We believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to ensure success within and beyond the curriculum. We want to prepare our learners for life as successful, valuable and socially responsible citizens with high aspirations.


We aspire for pupils to develop a love for reading. We encourage them to be fluent readers, who select texts for purpose and pleasure. Books and reading are at the heart of everything we do. Reading materials are built upon quality picture books, stimulating novels and non-fiction texts. We nurture a culture where children take pride in their writing; can write clearly, imaginatively and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We inspire children to be confident with speaking and listening, by prioritising discussion as part of our classroom practise.


We are passionate about enrichment of the English curriculum:  in order that our children can experience the positive impact it can have on their lives now and in their futures. We promote and challenge pupils’ aspirations to succeed:

  • Wilmot’s Wordsmith Week is annual event with a different focus each year supported by visiting authors – the focus always centres on reading/writing and provides the children with role models to which they might aspire.
    • In 2022, the week focused on children as authors, each child wrote and presented their own books. Winners of our competition had their books ‘published’.
    • In 2023, visiting authors were chosen due to their approach to writing about diversity and inclusion.
  • We are proactive in widening experiences such as entry into poetry competitions: last year many of our Sawley learners were published in a children’s poetry anthology.
  • We provide opportunities for children to engage with opportunities for purposeful speaking and listening: school choral speaking event, class assemblies, performances, debate opportunities, representation in the school council communications team etc.
  • All classes read for pleasure with the class teacher.
  • OWL writes provide opportunity for creative and imaginative writing.



How do we achieve our Intent?



Accelerated Reader is used to promote reading for enjoyment and encourages children to read books matched closely to their phonetic skills and reading stage. We work in partnership with parents to support regular reading at home and keep parents informed of their child’s reading progress. Star Reading tests and phonics screening takes place each half term, to ensure reading levels and phonics groups are fluid.


Classrooms have interactive reading displays to motivate children to read regularly at home. Reading bookmarks allow children to reflect on their independent reading and provides them with the opportunity to talk to each other about books and articulate their opinions.


These support children on the journey from reading to writing. Within our timetable, we are committed to providing:

  • An immersive reading culture

  • Guided / independent reading

  • The sharing of a class book

  • Comprehension activities

  • Targeted phonics intervention for identified pupils

  • Enrichment activities – e.g. Wilmot’s Wordsmith Week, competitions, book fairs



Children are clear about their writing targets, which can be identified at the front of their books. Each year group’s skills are progressive and build upon the previous year.


Each year group has a set of non-negotiable targets, which pupils are expected to apply across the wider curriculum. Within English lessons, these maybe supported by additional steps to success, which provides appropriate challenge for all learners and encourages children to be independent writers.


The English genres covered throughout the year groups embed knowledge through repetition and progression of skills.


Children’s quality writing is celebrated within class, class assemblies, headteacher award assemblies and displays. Achievements are shared with parents via ClassDojo, so their successes can be celebrated beyond the classroom.


We build on the formation of letters using our handwriting policy and the Twinkl handwriting scheme to ensure children are fluent in transcription and can write at pace.


Through the analysis of data and transition conversations, we have identified key groups for interventions to ensure missed learning is covered.


OWL (Open Write Learning) Writes were implemented in 2023 throughout the school to improve writing levels. Each class completes an OWL write every second week. The children get a writing stimulus, such as a picture, object or video to write about. During the input, children have the opportunity to discuss ideas with their class or peer, creating wordbanks together and a WAGOLL. Children write a creative paragraph independently to build stamina and engagement with writing. Through teacher discussions, pupil interviews and book looks these have proven to be working well across the school and the children comment that it is one of their favourite lessons. At the end of every half term there is an OWL write competition, and the winner from each year group gets their work put on display at the front of school.




Children are clear about their SPaG targets, which can be identified at the front of their books. Each year group’s skills are progressive and build upon the previous year.


Teachers adapt learning appropriately to meet all of the children’s needs. Teacher’s group children due to ability for spelling and phonics, so that they have appropriate spellings and are taught a spelling pattern or rule. Phonics screening takes place each half term, to ensure phonics groups are fluid.




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