Statement of Intent

As a village Church of England school, our community and Christian values underpin what we do.  We have a strong focus on developing children’s moral, spiritual, social and cultural understanding, along with promoting their physical development, mental health and wellbeing.

Our Curriculum is designed to be ambitious and yet accessible for all our pupils; we want them to leave Southminster prepared for the next stage in their learning.

Through a knowledge and skills-based approach, children begin to develop a better understanding of what it is to be an expert in each subject.  As part of this, we maintain a vocabulary focus across all areas of the Curriculum. We focus, also, on developing early communication and reading skills through the high-quality teaching of phonics and encouraging a love of reading.

Outdoor Learning, delivered by the Essex Wildlife Trust nurtures teamwork, resilience, risk taking, problem solving, curiosity and creativity which are transferred back into the classroom.

We have created our Curriculum to ensure that every child has opportunities to develop a love of learning in order to reach his or her potential.

In EYFS, to ensure the progression of skills and knowledge, we use the EYFS statutory guidance and Development Matters. This supports children to be ready for Year 1 and beyond, giving them the firm foundations they need to succeed in their learning journey. We want all children to have a holistic approach to learning, enabling them to achieve success across the Curriculum. Children have access to a range of resources to develop their curiosity and knowledge of the world and are prepared for a smooth transition into Year 1.

We celebrate and welcome differences within our school community.  Our values of love, forgiveness, thankfulness, respect, honesty, trust, friendship and perseverance are rooted in all that we do. We encourage children to take responsibility for their own actions and appreciate their ability to make a positive difference in the world.

We aim to develop resilient learners who are proud of themselves, recognise their achievements and are supportive of others’ success. Every child is encouraged to embrace new experiences and to develop confidence to tackle new challenges.


National Literacy Trust research shows that children who enjoy reading are three times more likely to have good mental wellbeing than children who don’t enjoy reading.
The report, based on a survey of almost 50,000 UK school children aged 8 to 18, found that:

• Children who are the most engaged with reading and writing are much happier with their lives than children who are the least engaged.
• As children transition from primary to secondary school, their levels of literacy engagement and mental wellbeing both decline and continue on this downward path.
• Boys who are the most engaged with reading and writing have higher levels of mental wellbeing than girls who are engaged.
To find out more about how reading can help us to maintain mental wellbeing, please see the PowerPoint on this page.

Reading at Southminster

At Southminster C of E Primary School, we want to develop and nurture the children’s love of reading, so that they become lifelong readers, and use this love to read for both study and pleasure. The firm foundations of reading are created through children’s phonic knowledge and skills.

We build on these foundations further through developing fluency and accuracy when reading for different purposes. We provide opportunities to develop a rich and extensive knowledge of vocabulary through exposure to a range of challenging, high-quality texts and we aim for our children to flourish, unlocking lifelong learning in the classroom and the wider world by being confident, resilient, reciprocal readers.

In EYFS and KS1, we follow the phonics scheme, Read, Write, Inc (RWI) to teach phonemes and blending, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. This enables our children to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. Children are given opportunities to practise and apply phonics skills that they are learning through the use of fully decodable books.

In KS2, we use Read, Write, Inc as catch-up sessions and we use Fresh Start to support children in KS2 to develop fluency and confidence within their Reading. This scheme follows on from Read, Write, Inc.

Across KS1 and KS2, we use whole class reading as our main strategy to teach reading skills. Using our Reading Curriculum, the children are exposed to a range of high-quality texts. Each session is sequenced using an introduction and recap, a vocabulary check, modelled reading, and comprehension focus where skills taught are being applied. We use VIPERS within our Reading lessons, to teach children the reading skills.

In addition to our Reading Curriculum, we have daily Book Talk in classes to build a love of reading and expose children to a range of stories, beyond their own reading abilities. Within these sessions, we also use Echo Reading to teach children the skills of reading aloud and to develop their fluency.

We want to build a life-long love of reading, which continues outside the school. To encourage children to read at home, we have a weekly Reading Raffle. Children who read regularly at home, are entered into a draw to win a reading book. We participate in World Book Day and celebrate reading for pleasure by sharing books that our adults have loved as children.

We hope that the following links will support with reading at home, both by providing resources to share and by giving tips and information.