If you are wondering where the next Roald Dahl or Benjamin Zephaniah will come from, the answer could be St. Joseph’s.

Our school is full of budding novelists and poets. We have plenty of aspiring playwrights and journalists too. On any given day, children might be reporting on rare plants in the Amazon or the discovery of a new Gruffalo footprint. Some will be corresponding with their constituents, eager to win a few more votes. Others could be preparing their debating notes. Is Harry Potter a true hero? Now there’s an interesting question!

We encourage our children to explore newspapers, design advertisements, write scripts and keep up a diary. We want to nurture within them a life-long love of writing, not only because it is stimulating and enjoyable, but also to help them enthusiastically talk, perform and positively engage with a range of subjects across the curriculum.

Our children are taught how to gather ideas and develop core skills, such as drafting, editing and revising. They are taught grammar, punctuation and spelling. They are skilled in the importance of good handwriting so that their finished work is legible and attractive. All of this prepares them well for the demands of secondary school.

Click here to see our Quality Mark award for English (awarded in 2021)

Since 2021 we have been using The Write Stuff programme to really develop our students’ creative writing. The programme is carefully structured and learning is layered week by week, with children building-up writing skills daily. It involves teacher modelling to demonstrate effective writing, collaborative work and a chance for pupils to edit work to further improve.

We believe our young writers need to experience the world beyond the classroom. Each year-group will visit a London theatre and participate in a workshop. We encourage parents to join us on those trips to see how immersed the children are in these productions. Currently, we are working with The Young Shakespeare Company.

Is it too much to hope that we might find the new bard at St Joseph’s? Maybe it could be your son or daughter!

Miss N Bickmore
English Lead


Reading for pleasure at any age is essential to the development of a reader.  Making time to share books is key to reading for enjoyment.

We believe that it is important that children receive a wide and rich reading experience and ensure the exploration of literature is both challenging and exciting. Children need to read a range of texts and experience texts through drama and media. Cross-curricular subjects incorporate opportunities for children to develop their speaking and listening skills helping them to become confident and independent learners.

Reading is taught as a standalone subject and across the school’s wider curriculum topics. Pupils develop skills in speaking, listening and reading in every year group. High quality and diverse texts are carefully selected to ensure all pupils have access to a wide range of inspiring literature. Drama is an integral part to our English curriculum and is encouraged across all curriculum subjects.

Reading is prioritised in the Early Years to ensure all children make the best start to their learning journey and have full access to all curriculum topics.  Children begin their reading journey on our chosen phonics programme Read Write Inc. They take part in daily phonics lessons and all staff are trained to be reading teachers. Children then progress to whole class reading lessons where their literacy skills are further developed and lessons are planned to ensure all children are given the opportunity to read daily.

Reading, speaking and listening is valued across all curriculum subjects. Texts are carefully chosen to support and inspire the teaching of science, geography, history and art.

Reading is continually promoted through whole school activities such as, Book Week, workshops, book fairs, trips, author visits, book swaps and our classroom library areas. We promote reading for purpose and pleasure in order to develop a lifelong love of reading amongst all of our pupils.

Click here to see the Grand Opening of our new library in 2021
Click here for one of our ‘meet the author events’ with M.G. Leonard, who wrote ‘Twitch’.


Parents are encouraged to support children to participate in daily reading at home. Children take home levelled books appropriate to their progress and are given the opportunity to choose and take-home age appropriate library books to foster a love for reading.

The greatest gift you can give your child is to make time to read with them regularly and embed reading for pleasure.

Mrs Jackie Swain 
Phonics Lead