Preparing, Believing, Achieving

Our approach to teaching and learning


At Penny Bridge CE Academy we are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning and we are relentless in our desire to continually raise standards.  We recognise the importance of creating a climate in which children can learn effectively and believe that consistent teaching and behaviour management strategies are key to this.


The programme promotes five core principles to teaching and learning and we believe that these principles apply to all subjects, not just Read Write Inc.  The routines and signals associated with these principles are relevant to all aspects of school life.  Therefore, we have adopted these consistently throughout the school, for all lessons and for all staff including teachers, senior teaching assistants, students, lunch time staff and out of hours provision staff.


All staff should embrace the five core principles and must:

  1. Know the purpose of every activity and share it with children, so children know the one thing they should be thinking about.
  2. Be passionate about teaching so they can engage children emotionally.
  3. Teach at an effective pace and devote every moment to teaching and learning.
  4. Ensure that every child participates throughout the lesson.Partner work is fundamental to learning.
  5. Praise effort and progress – not ability.


We can only pay attention to one new thing at a time.  If we are asked to learn too much at once, we give up.  Each teaching activity presented to children has one clear purpose which is set at the beginning of the activity so that children know what they are learning and why.


Emotional engagement is necessary for children to learn something new.  The greater their engagement the more they learn.  Children mirror the teacher’s mood.  When teachers are enthusiastic, children are too. 


We need children’s minds to be free to learn.  This means practising routines until they become second nature to both staff and children.  Everyone in our school uses the same routines and this has had a tremendous impact upon behaviour and attitudes to learning.  Children are in no doubt of the expectations when they move between groups and classes and teachers don’t waste any time in establishing a new set of routines. New staff are able to slip into the same routines quickly.

We have a range of silent signals that are key to these routines and children are praised for routines they do quickly and quietly. 

Team Stop Signal

This helps us stop children in a calm manner, ready for what comes next.  It replaces all other stopping techniques such as:  clapping, clicking, singing rhymes, shaking instruments, shouting, singing etc.

The stop signal is used at all times of the school day: during lessons, on the playground, in assemblies, during transitions, in the dining room, on trips and in staff meetings and professional development.

Turn To Your Partner Signal (TTYP)

Partner work is used consistently in all lessons and this is the signal that tells pupils to turn to their partner to discuss something or answer a question. 

My Turn, Your Turn Signal (MTYT)

This silent signal  is used when staff want the children to repeat something after them to reinforce their learning.

1, 2, 3 Signal

This silent signal moves the children silently from the carpet to their tables in under 15 seconds.  In reverse, it moves the children from their tables to the carpet in under 15 seconds.  It speeds up movement around the classroom and ensures that it is done quietly with no disruption to learning.



We want children to be motivated to work together, teach each other, practise together, talk together and give feedback to each other.  Teamwork is key.


Articulating a thought forces children to engage.  It makes children organise what they know and what they don’t.  We want all children to practise what they have been taught with a partner regularly in lessons and in all Read Write Inc. lessons where they should practise every activity and answer every question together.

No hands up, thumbs up, chests up or stick pulling!

These strategies should not be used as a strategy for answering questions.  In classrooms where these strategies are used, only a few children ever respond to questions.  Those who don’t respond to questions are unlikely to be paying attention.  We gain and keep children’s attention throughout lessons by using the following three techniques:


Choral work: My Turn Your Turn (MTYT)

We use choral work when we want children to copy what we’ve just said.


Partner Practice

Children are asked to recall what we have just taught them by teaching their partners: teachers are then able to check if their teaching has been successful or not.


Partner Talk

Children pay attention because they know they will be expected to answer every question with their partner and could be called upon to share their response with the rest of the group.



We praise the effort that our pupils put into their learning.  Children always feel good when they are working hard and succeeding so we acknowledge this and tell them exactly what they are doing that deserves praise.  We don't reward success with stickers and points as this does not help children to learn in the long term. By rewarding an activity that should be intrinsically rewarding, we send the message to children that the activity is not pleasant and nobody would want to do it without a bribe.  As we want children to take pleasure from learning, we avoid building a culture of payment for learning and ensure that our children want to learn.  Similarly, being angry with children and making them anxious disables their ability to learn and work hard.  If we punish or issue sanctions we may achieve compliance but it will destroy any willingness to learn.  Creating an ethos of encouragement and praise has a dramatic effect on a child's success and morale.




 A quote from English writer Jeanette Winterson sums up our approach to reading perfectly:


'Teach a child to read and keep that child reading and you will change everything.

And I mean everything.'


We place significant emphasis upon the development of basic skills and we aim for every child to be reading fluently and with high levels of understanding by the age of 7.  Many of our children achieve this even earlier.


How We Teach Reading

We use Read Write Inc. Phonics which is a complete literacy programme for 3 to 6 year olds that are learning to read and write.  The programme uses synthetic phonics to teach reading and it covers all of the National Curriculum requirements for literacy and language. 

This approach:

  • Gets children decoding and comprehending quickly.  The special 'three reads' approach ensures that all children gain accuracy, fluency and a good understanding of the text.
  • Ensures children read storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their growing phonic knowledge.
  • Leaves no child behind.   Initial and on-going assessment to track every child's progress.
  • Prevents downtime.  Direct teaching followed by partner practice means that every child participates in the whole lesson.

We begin using Read Write Inc. when our pupils are in nursery and they start by learning the first 30 sounds in short, daily sessions.  When pupils move into reception year, they begin to read storybooks and non-fiction books that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge.  The sessions are lively and interactive and our pupils make rapid progress.  They begin to write confidently and learn to spell using sounds that they know.  Their progress is assessed at the end of every half term and they are grouped according to the level they are working at.  This ensures that teaching is always focused precisely on what pupils need and the pace of learning is fast.  If we are ever concerned about a child's progress in reading, we provide 1:1 intervention to address this and accelerate their progress.  These sessions are delivered by highly skilled support staff who have received specific Read Write Inc. 1:1 intervention training.

We have experienced considerable success using the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme since we introduced the programme in September 2017.  In 2012 the Department for Education introduced a national test for reading that all pupils in Year 1 across the country take to establish whether they are achieving the expected level.  As the following data shows, our results in this screening check are consistently higher than the national average:


RWI in pictures . . .

Reading at Home - A Parent Guide


The teaching of reading does not stop when children complete the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. The skills of reading comprehension are a considerable focus of the Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language programme that children begin when they complete Read Write Inc. phonics.


We provide facilities for our pupils to enjoy books at different times throughout the day.  All our classes have their own reading areas with comfortable seating and a god variety of age appropriate texts.

Reading Areas

What happens when pupils complete the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme?

Most pupils complete the programme by the end of Year 1 and are ready to progress to the next stage of their learning.  Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language begins during Year 2 and continues until Year 6 and is a complete literacy programme matched to the new curriculum. 

Features of the programme:

  • Gives every child a deep understanding of what they read.  Complete texts from leading authors are introduced using the special 'three reads' approach.
  • Fully prepares every child for writing.  The teacher models planning, drafting and revising texts.  Children mirror this process.
  • Teaches grammar in context.  This enables children to apply grammar concepts to their own writing.
  • Supports the grammar and punctuation aspects of the Key Stage 1 and 2 statutory assessments.  It includes practice tests to build children's confidence.
  • Creates articulate speakers.  Children learn how to debate and present.



Read Write Inc. Spelling is a robust, fast-paced, systemmatic spelling programme for pupils from Year 2 to Year 6.  Pupils start the programme when they have completed Read Write Inc. Phonics and it runs alongside their English lessons.  They are taught in differentiated groups and have 15 minute sessions four days a week.  The sessions are highly interactive with pupils completing partner work as well as carrying out independent activities aimed at consolidating their understanding.  The programme uses an online resource for whole class teaching.  Three animated alien characters from the Spelling Planet introduce and explain the spelling focus for the lesson and pupils complete follow up activities in their own workbook. 




Handwriting is taught in additional sessions at least three times a week.



Phonics Screening

Children in Year 1 have to undergo a statutory phonics screening check. The check will be administered during the summer term.

Please find below some useful information and links for parents to support their children at home.

Articulation of phonemes

Learning to read through phonics

Oxford Owl Website

Sound Assessment Record Sheet

Contact Details

Telephone Number:

School Office: 01229 861307

Email Address:

Greenodd, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 7RQ