Literacy policy

At Berkley we want to instill a real love and passion for Literacy.  We link our Literacy work to the school topic as much as possible. This helps us ensure our teaching is inspirational, engaging and exciting.

Learning to read and write through Phonics, forms the core of our literacy teaching in Early Years and Key Stage One.

We are very excited to be using our new phonic scheme called Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey.

Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences.

Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words.

By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.

ULS phonics workshop slideshow

Unlocking Letters and Sounds Progression

phase 2 CEW mat    phase 2 sound mat

phase 3 CEW mat    phase 3 sound mat

phase 4 CEW mat

phase 5 CEW mat    phase 5 sound mat

Reading Scheme at Berkley School
We promote a ‘phonics first’ approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics  to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.
Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.
“Free Readers’ and are able to choose a book from a variety of genres.  We are very lucky to have a large variety of genres including books by modern authors and older classic stories.  Each classroom has a reading corner and we also have a library. We actively encourage as much reading at home as possible, enabling children to continue their love and passion for reading.


Spelling, punctuation and general grammar are taught at both Key Stage One and Key Stage Two and is supported throughout the curriculum.

Good handwriting is critical to children’s writing progress. It is essential that children’s handwriting is practiced until it is effortless so that they can put all their effort into thinking about what they are writing.

Independent writing is encouraged from the very beginning and a variety of stimuli is used to develop and inspire different writing skills, i.e. creative, descriptive and factual writing.  Regular challenges are set to encourage improvement and evaluation.