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Kelsall Primary & Nursery School and The Literacy Company

When I was asked to write about Kelsall’s long standing relationship with The Literacy Company, I jumped at the chance...

By David Wearing - Principal, Kelsall Primary School

I then quickly regretted it (for a brief moment), as I knew that my grammar, punctuation and spelling would be closely scrutinised and edited before publishing! I might be pulled up for my lack of fronted adverbials. However, after that brief moment, I started to think about the many ways in which the team at The Literacy Company has supported and inspired many teachers and pupils at Kelsall over the past 8 or so years.

As one of the first Teaching Schools in Cheshire West and Chester, an initial teacher training element was required. This involved delivering high-quality subject knowledge and strategies to our trainee teachers. From the outset, Cath and Linda quickly got on board with providing high-quality sessions in reading and writing, supporting emerging teachers to be the very best English teachers that they can be.

In total over 100 trainees have benefitted from The Literacy Company’s expert advice and tuition.

Over the years, the curriculum at Kelsall has evolved and changed. For many years, there were whole-school themes, such as ‘Reach for the Stars’, ‘To the Bottom of the Ocean’ and even a whole year exploring Quarry Bank Mill! With each new theme, teachers sought out high-quality texts to support and develop writing. The writing produced from these units was of a good quality, and as a school, we developed our own frameworks and often pinched ideas from Ros Wilson, Sue Skelton and other bits and bobs – like the famous VCOP triangle!

There was one particular drawback to this methodology of teaching writing and that was the lack of a coherent map of progression and coverage of genres. Staff researched a range of resources and schemes for writing and asked for a staff meeting with someone from The Literacy Company to develop our own bespoke model. At the end of the meeting, the team were all keen to look at Pathways to Write. The rest, as they say, is history!

We have been using Pathways for a couple of years now, and it’s completely changed the way we teach writing across the school. From Nursery through to year 6, high-quality texts carefully selected by The Literacy Company alongside thorough, well-structured plans support teachers in developing a mastery approach to writing.

The staff and pupils enjoy the range of books, and the long term cross curriculum planning gives scope to branch out into foundation subjects. Writing has certainly developed and improved across the school. We are proud of our Pathways to Write display which proudly celebrates amazing written responses from across the school.

The recent Pathways to Progress materials have been a valuable addition as were the ‘Catch-up’ programmes focusing on Black Lives Matter (quickly developed and delivered to schools for support with the start of the new term in September). It’s great to work with a professional and friendly team that put enjoyment and achievement at the heart of all their work. I would certainly recommend looking at the wide range of resources and training that The Literacy Company have to offer.

Follow Kelsall Primary on Twitter @KelsallSchool