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Nightingale Academy

St Margaret's Primary Academy

Unlocking Potential; Transforming Lives

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Our Statement of Intent is ‘Unlocking Potential, Transforming lives’. This means that we want to unlock the potential and transform the lives of all members of our school community.  

For our children, this may be removing barriers to ensure they approach their secondary education, equipped socially, emotionally and academically; for others it may be unlocking a hidden music skill which shapes their future. 

For our staff, this may be providing opportunities to help them progress professionally. 

For our parents, this may be removing barriers to help them access adult education. 

For our wider community, this may be helping them to attend a school social event to prevent loneliness and encourage volunteering at future events. 

To enable us to achieve the above, all members of the school adhere to the Core Values of: 

  • Safety 

  • Ready to Learn 

  • Working Together 

  • High Expectations 

  • Integrity in all that we do.


Reading at St Margaret’s Primary Academy aims to: provide an ambitious, rigorous and sequential approach to the reading curriculum; provide a sharp focus on early readers gaining the phonics knowledge and language comprehension necessary to read and the skills to communicate and give them the foundation for future learning; develop pupils’ fluency, comprehension, confidence and enjoyment in reading; provide a carefully curated literature spine, mapped to ensure a breadth of experiences, authors, texts and themes; ensure rigorous and explicit vocabulary instruction throughout the curriculum;  and develop a love of reading amongst pupils.  



At St Margaret’s Primary Academy, we follow the CUSP Reading Curriculum and Read Write Inc (RWI) is our selected synthetic phonics programme.  

Reading lessons are timetabled daily across KS2.  

EYFS and KS1 have both daily phonics and regular reading comprehension lessons each week.  

We recognise that reading is made up of these essential elements: 

  • Word Recognition 

  • Language Comprehension 

  • A love of reading 


Word Recognition 

When observing early reading, it is clear children cannot apply both skills without support, as first comprehension of the text is limited by the effort needed to decode words. As children become more fluent, greater comprehension of the text is possible. Therefore, at St Margaret’s, EYFS and Key Stage 1 children are taught to read following the Ruth Miskin RWI scheme. Children are taught in small, ability groups to learn the English alphabetic code. First, they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. Phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words as, as children re-read the stories, their fluency and comprehension increases. 


Language Comprehension  

At St Margaret’s Primary Academy, we know that comprehension skills are developed through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussions with adults, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts. The CUSP curriculum enables pupils to thrive through high-demand literature. A breadth of texts has carefully been chosen with supported supplementary texts that enable children to make connections. This exposes and provides children with rich vocabulary enabling them to understand and engage in life living in Britain. The children are given the opportunity to apply their reading skills across the curriculum helping them to recognise that reading is an essential skill to develop understanding in other subjects and in the world around them. Our staff are committed to ensuring that all children leave St Margaret’s Primary Academy reading fluently with confidence and are equipped with the reading skills they need to succeed at secondary school and beyond. 


A Love of Reading  

A key strand, and reason for choosing the CUSP curriculum, was for children to ‘develop positive attitudes to reading’. This, alongside word recognition and language comprehension are the driving elements for our Reading curriculum. 

Children at St Margaret’s are encouraged to develop and maintain positive attitudes to reading through a culture developing within the school. This is being built by all adult’s positive attitudes to reading and the teaching of reading, weekly library sessions, author visits, reading days such as World Book Day and Roald Dahl day utilising social media, weekly reading assemblies, tea parties, book fairs, shared daily reading and an extensive library and library champion. 

To promote a love of reading further, St Margaret’s Primary Academy uses Accelerated Reader. This gives children the chance to choose texts that interest them at a level which offers both challenge and success. Children then answer questions about a text to assess their comprehension, thus linking all elements of our reading curriculum together. The software enables teachers to see the books the children have accessed, their level of comprehension and intervention activities which could support the child. 


Lesson structure 

  • Connect – a question from yesterday; summarising, predicting, vocabulary focussed… 

  • Key information about the Author of the text (repeated daily) 

  • Explain key vocabulary that the children will need to know within the lesson 

  • Explicit fluency instruction using a variety of fluency strategies such as echo reading, read along, read aloud, paired reading or text marking.  

  • Example - My turn (Teacher modelling)  

  • Attempt – Our turn (Guided practice)  

  • Apply – Your turn (Independent application) 

  • Challenge – Stretch pupils further 



The reading curriculum is monitored so that we can: 

  • Understand the strengths and areas for development within reading and plan for future improvements via a reading action plan. 

  • Ensure children are being taught skills and knowledge at the right time and in the right order, building on prior learning and deepening understanding. 

  • Evaluate the quality of teaching and learning across the school and intervene to improve it where necessary.  

  • Understand standards within reading (children’s attainment and progress) 

  • Evaluate if reading is meeting the needs of the children and contributing to the academy’s intent of Unlocking Potential and Transforming Lives. 

The reading curriculum is monitored through lesson drop-ins, books looks and pupil perception. This monitoring enables the quality of teaching and learning to be assessed, allowing good and impactful practice to be shared across the school to ensure all children make progress. 



At St Margaret’s Primary Academy interventions are carried out to ensure all children make progress are staged and appropriate. Our practice is based on research and children are selected based on data. We deliver high quality, early interventions, to support pupils’ decoding, fluency and comprehension. These include interventions from Read Write Inc itself and Lexonik Leap and Lexonik Advance for our older pupils. We also deliver effective Project X and PIXL interventions.  


Synthetic Phonics 

We use the Read Write Inc programme for phonics. Phonics is taught daily to our early readers, and they are streamed via assessment protocols into groups appropriate for their stage of learning. 

Each child is given a ‘book bag book’ from RWI which is matched to their decoding ability, and they take this home to read themselves.   

We regularly monitor and assess pupils’ phonics via RWI assessment protocols and are sharply focused on early intervention so that attainment is assessed, and gaps are addressed quickly and effectively for all pupils.  



CUSP has been deliberately built to ensure that all pupils, regardless of their starting points, access a high-quality diet of learning. In CUSP Reading, all pupils access the texts and lessons so that even if pupils are still developing their decoding skills and fluency, they are still exposed to the language and concepts that their peers are. This means that when their word-reading develops, they are able to thrive in the diet of high-demand literature and there will not be a gap between the language and knowledge that they have been exposed to compared to their peers. Appropriate adaptations can be made to the way learning is presented to ensure that all pupils experience success. These adaptations may be related to individual pupils’ SEND but they may also be useful for pupils who just need a little extra help to master the content of the curriculum. The CUSP curriculum is designed to support teachers use strategies to scaffold CUSP Reading lessons for all learners in their classes. 

At St Margaret’s Primary Academy all pupils are screened for dyslexia from Y1 onwards. British Picture Vocabulary Scales (BPVS) are also used to assess a child’s receptive (heard) vocabulary to identify any delay in vocabulary development. Pupils can respond to a stimulus word by selecting a picture from four options that best illustrates that word’s meaning. As no reading or spoken response is required, BPVS can be used to assess language development in non-readers, pupils with expressive language impairments and other related communication difficulties, as well as those with English as an Additional Language (EAL). This enables early identification of those pupils who may need intervention or additional support to ensure they have every opportunity to be successful. 



Reading is prioritised throughout the Early Years setting at St Margaret’s Primary Academy. The development of children’s spoken language underpins all areas of learning and development. Children’s back-and-forth interactions with adults and their peers from an early age form the foundations for language and cognitive development. It is crucial that a language rich environment is created and that all children engage in high quality conversations throughout the day. The children are exposed to and actively engage with a variety of texts such as fiction, non-fiction, rhymes and poems. The children are then provided with extensive opportunities to use and embed taught vocabulary in a range of contexts. This will ensure our children are prepared for their next phase of education.  

To further support the understanding of vocabulary colourful semantics is used which colour codes sentences according to the role of different words. It can help children to break down sentences and understand the individual meaning of each word and its role in the sentence.  

Makaton is also used by all staff in the Early Years setting which enables staff and children to communicate straight away using signs and symbols. This is a visual method to develop children’s communication skills which helps stimulate children’s use of sounds and words. 


 Vocabulary Instruction  

At St Margaret’s Primary Academy, we know that our children often enter school with limited vocabulary and if left unchecked, this can prevent them from succeeding. Therefore, we prioritise explicit vocabulary instruction both in reading lessons and across the curriculum.   


Home Reading  

To promote the love of reading each child has a home reading book that has been carefully matched to their decodable level. If pupils are on the Read Write Inc programme they will bring home a RWI book bag book that is matched to their level and supports the current sound they have been learning in their lesson. Those children who are no longer on the Read Write Inc programme will have a book matched to their level using Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader provides an insight into students’ quiz results which can be used to set goals and monitor students’ continued progress. All children will also choose a book from the school library for pleasure to share with those at home. Boom Reader is a digital reading record that records children’s reading both at home and at school enabling effective communication between teachers and parents. Children are expected to read five times a week at home. Home reading is celebrated through rewards and prizes as well as being invited to a class tea party with their teacher.  


Intended Impact  

Pupils read widely and often with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age. Pupils demonstrate a love of reading across a range of genres. They achieve well and are prepared for their next phase of education. Assessments take place every half term to track children’s progress against age-related expectations for reading. The lowest 20% of readers in each year group will make better than expected progress. The % gap in the progress of different groups of children (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged) will diminish. 

Our curriculum will provide pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to allow them to go to destinations that meet their high aspirations for their future.  

Impact will be assessed through monitoring, regular book looks, lesson observations and pupil voice questionnaires. Teacher assessments will be made using the key performance indicators curriculum tracker and through Read Write Inc assessments throughout the academic year. 



In addition, across the school we use Accelerated Reader to promote reading.


The scheme involves: 

•           Every Half term your child takes a reading assessment called the “Star Reading Test” on a computer which asks your child questions to assess their reading and comprehension skills. 

•           The results produce a level of books that are suitably challenging to improve your child’s reading and comprehension skills.

•           When they have finished the book they then take an “Accelerated Reading Quiz” that asks them questions relating to the book. 

•           The computer then gives children a percentage score depending on how many questions they have got right (children are aiming for 80%). 

•           Your child then reads other books within their level, and gradually progresses onto harder books.


We are asking that you ensure your child reads every day with an adult or on their own.  It would be very helpful to your child if you ask them questions about what they have read as this will help them remember the book before they take the quiz. 


Don’t forget to sign up to the Home Connect Online Programme where you will be able to log on and view your child’s progress towards their reading target. You will also be able to see all the books that your child has read and quizzes they have taken. 

Please visit:

How to Help Your Child with their Reading

Our Library

Welcome to our new look library! During the summer holidays the library has been completely refurbished with new shelving units and a seating area providing a fresher, open spaced feel. The library computers have also been relocated to individual classrooms to allow children easier access to the internet when completing research during lesson time.


Finally, we have divided the library space into two sections with a screening wall, which allows the teaching of small intervention groups to take place in a quiet environment.


We are very happy with our new library, and hope the children love it too!









Get In Touch

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REACH2 Academy Trust

Founded in 2012, REAch2 Academy Trust is the largest primary-only academy trust in country.

Registered Address: Henhurst Ridge Primary Academy Henhurst Ridge Burton-Upon-Trent DE13 9TQ Tel: 01283 246433 Email:

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