English at Thriplow

This term all classes have displayed a Reading River or a Reading Garden or a Reading Journey. Here are some of them so far this year. Every class began the year with The UNICEF book For Every Child. The Butterflies loved Hotel Flamingo so much they have buried under hearts! Can you spot it?
Following our successful World Book Day back in March. Returning to school in September, the children were thrilled to receive some letters back from some of the authors they wrote to. Here are some of them displayed in our library. 
World Book Day 2020
We always try our best to celebrate and keep reading for pleasure at the forefront of our curriculum. This year as part of World Book Day we created Book Trees - where each child was given a bauble to decorate in a book theme. We were thrilled with the outcomes. 
As part of the celebration, every child wrote a fan letter to an author of their choice. They then walked down to the postbox with their class to post it. We have been so pleased to receive some replies and well done to Ali Pye, the author of 'The Adventures of Harry Stevenson,' who was the very first author to write back!

The Curriculum 


Talk at Thriplow


Education at Thriplow is not just about the National Curriculum. We place a great emphasis on developing self-esteem and confidence, through our caring Christian ethos and our ability to give every child individual attention. We firmly believe that learning to express oneself articulately is an important aspect of education, and we aim to improve the children’s spoken English through a variety of initiatives and activities.

These include:

  • Each cohort learns a poem by heart every term and recites it to the class/Key Stage/whole school. We hold a Poetry Recital Competition each year and the winner receives a prize and has his or her name engraved on a trophy.

  • Every child in the school (Years 1 – 6) is encouraged to deliver a Presentation to their peers. In Reception, themes for “Show and Tell” are dictated by the class topic and are therefore relevant to the children’s learning. In Year 1 and 2 children take part in ‘Treasure Box’ which is a time to present to the rest of the class with artefacts and pictures of a subject of their choice. The whole school listens to a Presentation delivered by a teacher and considers the skills needed. The Year 6 children are the first in the year to deliver a 3 minute Talk on any subject to the rest of KS2. Year 5 and Year 4 also have the opportunity to deliver a presentation later on in the year. The children also join in a whole school debate.

  • Philosophy for children is being developed across the school. This allows children to learn to talk and develop ideas and teaches them to become good listeners also. We do this through ' What's the big question?'. This is a philosophical question linked to our topic that the children visit over the term.


Teaching Reading at Thriplow

Back in 2019 the Year 6 results for Reading were 80% at Age Related Expectations with 53% at Greater Depth. Children meeting the standard in phonics in Year One was 89%. 


The school works hard to ensure every pupil makes progress with their reading. Within FS and KS1 classes children are heard read twice weekly at school and within Reception there is much reading integrated into the provision. If the child needs more support, they are put on the Regular Readers list. In FS and KS1 reading records are checked daily and children are expected to read every night with an adult. In KS2 children are heard read once a week. The reading choices are monitored and supported. We are aspirational with their reading choices. Reading records are a really important link between teacher, pupil and parent and are checked once a week. Regular Readers are heard read more often during the week. Adults at home are encouraged to share reading experiences with their children up until Year 6. 


As a school we strive to instil a love of reading through the teaching of high-quality texts and surrounding the children with an environment that is rich in language and print.  Children explore these in a number of ways such as recitals, drama, performances of plays, assemblies, the arts, celebrations of book days, shadowing book awards and whole school projects. We have a wonderful library that is kept up to date with ‘birthday donations’ from parents and a wish list online. The library is enhanced with a ‘take a book’ theme every half term. Each class has access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction within class. We also ensure children make progress through focusing on the teaching of key skills of vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, sequencing and summarising. Reading takes place throughout the day: whole class reading, 1:1 reading with an adult, group reading, a class novel/story and reading clubs.


Children learn synthetic phonics systematically as a whole year group from the beginning of Reception. Reception children begin with phonological awareness activities. Reception and KS1 use Letters and Sounds as a basis for their teaching. We use Read Write Inc letter formation rhymes and phoneme cards. Assessment of phonics is carried out 1:1 by the class teacher or teaching assistant. Reception children are assessed in Baseline and teacher assessment. Children are assessed in phonics upon entering Year One and then again in December, March and then the phonics check in June. Children who are not meeting satisfactory progress are then given additional support at each stage, often in a small group or individual basis. 

In 2018 and 2019 data showed we were achieving above the national percentage. In June 2020 children were not asked to take the Phonics Check. Children who do not reach the expected standard are given extra support to achieve the phonics check in Year Two this is decided on a needs basis as what support would be most beneficial. If a child goes into Year Three having not passed the check, they would be part of the Provision Map and monitored more closely for progress.


All teachers throughout the school carry out continuous formative assessment and this is put into the Provision Maps. This is regularly updated and it shows what additional support and progress is happening within each class. These are shared with other class teachers, teaching assistants and the head teacher in staff meetings and also governors with a subject specific responsibility. 



Teaching of Writing At Thriplow Primary School


At Thriplow we use a thorough, systematic and creative approach to the teaching of writing. The National Curriculum is used as the ‘bare bones’ for how teachers plan their writing sequences.


Talk is at the centre of teaching the children to write. We believe if they can’t ‘talk it’ they won’t be able to write it. Much time is dedicated to orally composing sentences or parts of texts, learning texts/poems off by heart and using them as a model to scaffold their writing from. Each child creates a poetry anthology during their school years here.


Writing is taught through the use of high quality texts, real life experiences and using writing across the curriculum to inspire and enthuse the children to write. Each teacher ensures they are teaching a range of writing that covers non-fiction and fiction text types linked to the learning going on in their own class. Teachers are trusted and given the freedom to adapt writing sequences in order to adjust to the needs of each class and follow the interests of the class.


We use discrete phonics, SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) and handwriting lessons to ensure there is rigour but then teach the application in their writing through modelling, shared writing and paired composition. Sometimes we use the process of the ‘slow write’ to ensure the focus is applied.


Writing is assessed across the school half termly using the same set task in order to gain an accurate picture of writing across the school. This also allows for moderation and is compiled in the children’s Writing Portfolio.




Currently we have a whole school project shadowing the Kate Greenaway Medal. This is the Butterfly class winner. They created story stones to celebrate their winner - You're Safe With Me. Watch this space for more winners! Thank you so much to Mrs Wright who so kindly bought all the books for us to enjoy in school.
We have been so inspired by the Lost Words that we created our own acrostic poems based on other animals that we might find living near us. We displayed our writing in the Wild Space - that is our place for outdoor learning. 
We celebrated World Book Day this year by creating a 'Book in a Jar'. Wow! What a fantastic job everyone did. We all enjoyed talking, sharing and admiring all the creations. It provided so many opportunities to talk about all the books we love and hopefully inspired others to read them too! 
We started this Spring term with a whole school project on the book The Lost Words. The children had great fun visiting the WIldspace and trying to find and name as many of the animals and plants from their pictures as possible. Each class chose an a particular poem and produced some amazing writing, sculptures and art work. We are continuing to try and find more lost words within our classes so watch this space!
As a whole school we shadowed the Kate Greenaway medal. Each class chose their favourite and then tried to persuade the rest of the school to vote for them. The winner this year was Town Is By The Sea but our school winner was A First Book of Animals. This was a favourite for the Reception children right up to Year 6. 
We have been shadowing the Kate Greenaway Book Awards as a school. Thanks to the kind genorosity of a former governor, we have been able to buy all the books on the long list. Every class had the opportunity to read and decide on their favourite and then they presented their ideas in an assembly. Each class tried to persuade the rest of the school to vote for their book.
Our shortlist was Ants - Please Mr Panda, Butterflies - Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Caterpillars - The Bolds and Dragonflies - Wall. 
After a whole school vote, we are pleased to announce that Please Mr Panda by Steve Antony is the Thriplow Kate Greenaway award winning book for 2016. 
We look forward to tracking the real awards to see how all the books get on and find out which book will be crowned with the Kate Greenaway Medal. 
The children have all been following the Kate Greenaway Medal. In classes they voted for their favourite book to go foward to the whole school vote. In a special assembly, each class tried to persuade the rest of the school why their book was the best. The four finalist books are now being voted for.