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Amberley Primary School

Nurturing Innovation & Aspiration

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Attendance Board

Sept 2019 - 96.9% Oct 2019 - 96.7%

Sept 2019 - Rec AG 99% Oct 2019 - Y6LM 98.6%

Find Us
  • Amberley Primary School,
  • East Bailey,
  • Killingworth,
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne,
  • Tyne and Wear, NE12 6SQ
  • Mrs A. Coxon, Office Manager
  • Miss E. Thompson, Admin Assistant

The English Curriculum at Amberley (including our approach to Phonics)

In all areas of our curriculum, we seek to include and promote our core values.


Nurturing  Innovation  Aspiration

Nurturing: Working together with care, support and encouragement.

Innovation: Looking for new and exciting ways to learn and teach.

Aspiration: Always expecting the very best of our staff and our pupils.


Curriculum Intent (Reading)

At Amberley our aim is to equip all of our children with the skills needed to become independent, fluent and passionate readers. As detailed in our overall curriculum intent, the teaching of reading at Amberley embraces all three of our core values: nurturing, innovation and aspiration. By focusing on these three key priorities at the heart of our curriculum we believe our children will be ready to successfully meet the challenges of the next stage of their education. We strive to enable every child regardless of their background, needs or abilities to become a good reader and we aim to provide rich, engaging experiences of reading that inspire the child to become passionate lifelong readers.



The school has clear expectations of pupils’ phonics progress term-by-term, from Nursery to Year 2, and the school’s phonics programme aligns consistently with these expectations. Regular and accurate assessment continually informs teaching of phonics, comprehension and fluency to ensure all children make rapid progress. The sequence of reading books is matched closely to the school's phonics programme and until children reach the end of the phonics programme they take home a phonetically decodable book; which is either in line with or slightly behind sound progression in which children are being taught. 


At Amberley we know how important parental involvement is to a child’s reading education and therefore we aim to regularly engage parents through a variety of reading based workshops including phonics and guided reading. We also endeavour to promote reading to parents through annual reading challenges which involves parents reading regularly with their children and sharing their reading experiences via Twitter and through home-school tasks.





Curriculum Implementation

Whole class reading is delivered five times per week in KS2 and is also delivered in Year 2 alongside phonics. These reading sessions centre on vocabulary rich and engaging texts from a variety of genres. Children pick apart texts using a range of ‘reading strategies’ to gain a true understanding of the author’s intent, structure of the text, themes within a text and vocabulary. The 'reading strategies' that children are taught underpin the strands of the National Curriculum for reading.



Reading Strategies



Children who are working within the school’s reading scheme also read 1:1 a minimum of once per week with a teacher or skilled teaching assistant. Home-school reading records allow conversations between parents and teachers to take place around reading and children’s reading achievements. For pupils who have completed the school reading scheme choose books initially from a carefully selected, age appropriate range of fiction and non-fiction texts which are checked regularly for pupil understanding of text, vocabulary and fluency of decoding words. Once teachers are confident that children are able to select their own texts, children in UKS2 ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ their book choices using either a QR based scanning and logging scheme or a via their class teacher. Teachers regularly monitor children's text choices to enable them to assess pupil's reading stamina, current interests in texts and comprehension. 


Children begin their phonics journey in Nursery by focussing on the ‘seven aspects’ of ‘Phase 1’ taken from the Letters and Sounds documentation; which ranges from hearing sounds in the environment to listening and remembering sounds as well as talking about sounds. Following the Read, Write, Inc. scheme formal daily phonics lessons are carried out from Reception to Year 2. The teaching of sounds is progressive throughout EYFS and KS1 and children's sound knowledge is regularly checked through ongoing formative teacher assessments and well matched summative assessments. The teaching of specific phonemes and grapheme representations begins in Reception, where children begin by recognising single sounds, how to say them and how to form them. As children progress throughout Reception and KS1, the teaching, application and consolidation of consonant and vowel digraphs and trigraphs takes place in the form of both reading and writing activities. In KS2, where catch-up provision is required, phonics support is provided for these children in small groups through a programme closely linked to RWI. In view of  providing a 'catch-up' curriculum, Year 3 are engaging in daily phonics lessons across Autumn and part of Spring term to ensure phonics skills are secured. 


At Amberley we strive to encourage a love of reading in all of our learners, regardless of their background. We provide a range of opportunities to nourish and enrich enthusiasm for reading with the aim of all children becoming lifelong, passionate readers. Detailed below are some of the ways in which we aim to embed such passion.


Recently we have constructed a reading shack within the outdoor learning environment at Amberley which provides pupils with the opportunity and freedom to read in their own time within the school day, for example during break or lunchtime.


Each year we have a different whole school focus at the centre of encouraging a love of reading. In previous years, this has included ‘Road to Rio’ and ‘Word Wizards’. This year’s theme is ‘Wriggling Readers’ which is celebrated weekly in assembly time and centres on building children’s reading stamina and the links between home and school encouragement of reading.  


Paired reading also takes also takes place between Year 2 and Year 5 children on a weekly basis as does ‘Secret Reader’ when one Year 6 child, twice weekly is selected to go and read to Reception and Year 1 classes.  


At Amberley we also take part in annual author visits where children are the given the opportunity to engage in a workshop with a range of authors who specialise in current children’s literature. Many children take this opportunity to buy the books and have them signed by the author. We believe that such experiences connect learned in the classroom with the wider world and increase and improve pupils motivation to read and write. We are fortunate enough at Amberley to have our local library within walking distance and therefore seize this opportunity for our children to visit weekly.


Example strategies we use within Whole Class Reading


Summarising Strategy



Inference Strategy


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Examples of our Whole Class reading activities

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Reading Scheme

At Amberley we follow the Read, Write, Inc phonics scheme. This scheme provides children with an engaging range of phonetically decodable books matched in line with or slightly behind the progression of sounds they are taught in class. Children take home the matching 'book bag' books which corresponds with the 'storybooks' which they read in lessons. 



After children complete the phonics scheme, a progressive selection of fiction and non-fiction books have been carefully selected to support the ongoing development of children's fluency and comprehension skills. 





Promoting Reading from the word “GO!”

The promotion of Reading at Amberley is embedded from Nursery all the way up to Year 6. The North Tyneside Library Bus visits Nursery, Reception and Year 1 termly. Children go onto the Library Bus to meet the librarians, return previous books they took out, discover new texts and listen to stories read by a librarian. Look at the photos below to see our visits...


Nursery on the Library Bus






Y1AB listening to a story on the Library Bus



Children from Year's 1 to 6 have twice termly library visits to our local library situated within the White Swan Centre. Children have the opportunity to discover a range of new texts, learn key skills to help us search for new books in the library, listen to, read and take out new books. Lots of parents, grandparents and carers accompany us on our trip to the local library, we couldn't do it without their support. See the photos below...


Y2KR visiting the White Swan Library 




We love looking for new books to read...



Y1 playing story bingo on our visit to the White Swan Library 




heart Reading and taking out new books heart



 Using an index to search for books...building our library skills 




Author Visits

As part of Amberley Primary School’s aim to promote reading, throughout November this year children from Year’s 1 to 6 visited a range of well known authors. From these authors we learnt:

  • about the job of an author
  • what inspired authors to become an author
  • where they get ideas for stories from
  • how to plan a story they are going to write

...and lots, lots more!


Look at the photos below to see our author visits in action...



Year 1 visiting the author Tracey Corderoy 




We learnt how to draw her character Slippery Sam 





We had so much fun!!!



smiley Waiting to get our books signed by Tracey Corderoy smiley



Y2 visited the author Julia Jarman and met her afterwards too






Y3 visited the auhor Nick Sharratt 






Y4 visited Gareth.P.Jones


Pupil Voice


We feel it is important that we listen to the feedback of our children at Amberley and they are very positive about their reading lessons.


A child from lower Key Stage 2 exclaimed...

“We all enjoy never know what’s coming next, it’s so exciting!”


Another shared...

“I like doing the quizzes and predicting what’s going to happen next.”


A child from upper Key Stage 2 said...

“After reading books in whole class reading, I’ve started to read more at home. If you’re stressed, it calms you

Curriculum Impact (Reading)

Teaching and support staff use a wide range of formative assessment tools during the lesson to judge the impact that the teaching is having on children’s learning. To further measure the impact of reading teaching of reading and learning we also deliver summative assessments at the end of each term. This is a helpful tool to measure how deep the children have embedded the strands of reading when it is assessed out of context and at a later date to the initial teacher input. Question level analysis (QLA) is then completed of these tests to measure this impact and help inform planning for the next term. From this QLA, children are identified where learning of the strands of reading has not been fully embedded. These children are then grouped based on their needs and attend interventions based on the strands they have found challenging


It is vital that measuring the impact of our teaching of reading closely informs our planning going forward, individualising our curriculum to meet the needs of all children.

Amberley Primary School's approach to the teaching & learning of Phonics


Phonics teaching at Amberley is very effective and performance in the Year 1 Phonics Screening test has been significantly above national averages since the assessment was introduced. We are proud of these outcomes and they are achieved through a combination of carefully planned teaching and learning and work in partnership with parents who are involved and informed about our phonics teaching from the first days their child begins nursery or reception. Staff hold meetings for new nursery and reception pupils and these include advice on how to support their children with phonics. Teachers in Key Stage 1 invite parents to specific phonics meetings in order to support phonics home learning.


Our phonics teaching and learning in based on a combination on three phonic schemes, these being:


  • Letters & Sounds and
  • Read, Write, Ink.
  • Jolly phonics


Teachers use the best aspects of both schemes to plan work specific to their groups of children. Teaching support staff are used to further group our classes and support the most and least able learners, ensuring they are appropriately challenged. We have recently appointed a staff member to the role of 'Phonics Lead Teacher' who has worked alongside a Local Authority specialist phonics teacher to further develop our teaching and learning in phonics which has involved a review of teaching, differentiation, marking and feedback and interventions. Please see the attached phonics action plan for further details.


Below is a link to a website, which links each sound to their phoneme.



Teaching Teachers Phonics

Mrs Armstrong led a phonics focus morning held at Amberley Primary School, developing Trainee Teacher’s subject knowledge and skills, who are enrolled on the North Tyneside PE SCITT course. Focuses of the morning included:

  • What is phonics?
  • Why is phonic so important?
  • How we teach phonics at Amberley and why 
  • Assessment of phonics
  • The impact of phonics on developing young readers
  • Discovering resources that can be used to support the delivery of phonics






As part of this morning, Mrs Armstrong demonstrated a 1:1 reading session with a Year 1 pupil. Trainee’s then put the skills they learnt into practice. See photos below: 








 Furthermore, students practiced delivering a practice Phonics Screening paper with each other which gave them an insight into the statutory assessment linked to phonics. 







Promoting Handwriting at Amberley


At Amberley we promote handwriting within Guided Reading and English lessons. Children are encouraged to take pride in the presentation of all their work across each subject. Pen licences are presented to children who show consistent and fluent cursive handwriting in their writing. Letter formation is taught from the earliest opportunities and reinforced in phonics and English lessons and all written tasks. 


Below are some examples of two children's writing who have achieved their pen licences.






We further promote handwriting through half termly handwriting competitions, where all winning entries are displayed in school.




Please see our English documents and policies section for further information on our handwriting expectations and letter formation. 


Reading Teaching and Learning Profile