St Peter’s Church of England Primary School named Literacy School of the Year

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The UK Literacy Association is proud to announce the 2015-2016 recipient of its new award for schools. St Peters Church of England Primary School, Bishopsworth, Bristol is the 2015-2016 UKLA Literacy School of the Year: A school where literacy thrives.

UKLA is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy and is committed to promoting good practice nationally and internationally. UKLA President Andrew Lambirth said “this award has become an aspirational and recognised kite mark for schools of excellence in literacy.”

Livvy Sinclair- Gieben, Headteacher commented: “We are delighted to receive this award to celebrate all the staff’s hard work and creativity when it comes to inspiring a love of literature and reading. We have a firm belief that literacy should be at the heart of everything we do. We are lucky to have so many wonderful books in school and all of our children get excited with the arrival of each new book whilst still greeting familiar favourites with enthusiasm.

“Being a Reading Recovery school has been such an important part of our journey and has helped us to ensure that all of our children have the opportunity to be fluent readers. We are committed to the idea that all children should be able to read and this is reflected in all that we do. We’d like to thank Jane Carter and the team at UKLA for nominating us for this award. The recognition has meant a lot to us.”

St. Peter’s CofE Primary School is an outstanding school located on the edge of the city of Bristol.  All of the children are encouraged to aim for excellence and to fulfil their individual potential – academically, socially and personally.

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The school is set in large, well-designed and spacious grounds which are used to support and enhance the curriculum. The school serves an area of high social deprivation, where a large proportion of the pupils are in receipt of the Pupil Premium; however, the school secures outstanding progress and excellent outcomes for all of its pupils.

The assessors were most impressed by the way that St. Peter’s places literacy at the heart of its curriculum.  Each topic studied is based on a text which is introduced to the children in exciting and innovative ways, so that children are immersed in the world of the book.  Both fiction and non-fiction books are used in class sets, so that every child can have a personal copy of the book.

The school has been determined in assuring that their stock of books, both class sets and the books which children can borrow from their class libraries, is kept up to date and frequently refreshed.  Children are all encouraged to read at home and through prizes and gifts from the school, will have been enabled to build up their own library of books at home.

Throughout the school, the attention to detail in displaying both reading material and children’s written work was outstanding.  The learning environment, both indoors and in the beautifully developed school grounds, provides opportunities for children to use and consolidate their literacy skills.

Parents are welcome, both at workshop events designed to explain the school’s teaching methods and philosophy, but also at open mornings where they can watch their children learn.  The school’s website enables parents to access books online, and to share in the work of the school through blogs, written by the children, and news updates.

The assessors who visited the school were also impressed by the skill, determination and energy of all of the adults working with children.  The senior leadership team see teaching as a craft, and they have successfully enabled the teaching staff of the school to set and maintain the highest quality of learning and teaching.

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Learning to read fluently and to write confidently at St. Peter’s is tremendous fun, with many opportunities for children and staff to dress up and celebrate the books and authors they are studying.  No child is allowed to slip through the net, and the school has given great thought to the teaching of aspects of the English curriculum – systematic synthetic phonics, punctuation, grammar and spelling, for example – with creative flair and energy.

Children at St. Peter’s can talk confidently about their reading, and the pleasure it gives them.  They have had the opportunity to meet “real” authors, and this, combined with the very rich resources they are offered as models in their reading, enables them to be confident writers.

In addition to the wealth of print resources the school uses laptops, digital cameras, e-readers and tablet computers to enhance and enrich the learning experience for children.  For example, a professional storyteller created a story walk around the school grounds which the children could follow using geocache technology and their iPads.

Andrew Lambirth, UKLA President, will visit the school in the Spring term to present the award to the school.  UKLA has also invited the Headteacher and her team to share their good practice at a seminar at the UKLA International Conference in July 2016, when they will also receive recognition of their Award at the wine reception before the gala dinner.

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