Gipsy Hill

All teachers at Gipsy Hill Federation are committed to ensuring that children make outstanding progress in Literacy. The New Curriculum 2014 has been tailored by our staff to provide engaging and creative opportunities for children to question, imagine and to reflect critically on their ideas and actions.

The curriculum encompasses several areas which develop children’s ability to read, write and organise their ideas orally.  A more in depth programme of study has been developed to teach children key skills in the areas of spelling and vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. In line with the new guidance, key skills are now taught earlier, starting in KS1, objectives for grammar and spelling are more specific and the content is more advanced. Formative assessment is used to track progress and a range of interventions are available to support learners.


At Gipsy Hill Federation we believe that reading is the best gift that you could give your child. We have tailored a policy to support all children in their learning of reading and to inspire children to become life-long readers. One of the aims of English in the new National Curriculum is to ‘develop [pupils’] love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment’. This is to be achieved by ensuring that they ‘develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information’.

Click here to view our reading policy.

We provide the children with opportunities to:

  • Read daily using a wide range of text and genre, during whole class sessions and focused group reading sessions.
  • Participate in daily interactive phonics sessions which start in EYFS and continue through KS2.
  • Share and talk about stories to improve their comprehension skills and to help them make informed choices with their independent reading.
  • Read aloud to encourage expression and instil confidence.
  • Value books through reading regularly to children, attractive and user friendly book corners, highlighting different authors each month, celebrating World Book Day and a whole Federation themed Book Week.
  • Ensure reading skills are taught as children progress through the school to enable them to develop a critique of a range of literature and styles of writing.
  • Provide Reading Recovery intervention to help selected children make accelerated progress.

Spoken Language and Drama

Gipsy Hill Federation firmly believes that meaningful talk helps children make fantastic progress in both reading and writing, as well as other areas of the curriculum. Speaking and listening is essential in supporting children to develop and organise their ideas.  We also value drama, providing children with opportunities to grow in confidence and independence. It is not only an interesting and exciting subject, but a dynamic and exciting part of the Primary Curriculum. At Gipsy Hill Federation, we use drama across all our subjects in an innovative and kinaesthetic way, allowing children of all ages to tap into their creativity, explore new concepts and contribute to their imagination.

Children are given opportunities to:

  • Listen and respond to stories, poems and rhymes.
  • Retell stories and poems which are known by heart.
  • Participate in discussions and debates.
  • Discuss and evaluate their own work with peers and adults.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Justify actions and opinions.
  • Participate in planned drama sessions across the curriculum.
  • Orally compose before they write.
  • Experience theatre visits or watch visiting theatre groups perform at school.


Across the Federation, teachers strive to promote an engaging and creative writing environment.  Gipsy Hill Federation believes that great readers become great writers and so teachers choose extremely high quality and stimulating texts as a basis for writing. Quality first planning ensures children are challenged to become more confident and adventurous writers. Pupils become familiar with a range of text types and their features so that within these structures, children can begin the exploration of language and structure.  Once fully immersed in the story, the text becomes a tool to explore ideas about plot (such as alternative endings), characterisation, setting, themes or use of language.  Class discussions give a context to grammar and syntax, which subsequently helps to develop and enrich pupils’ own writing skills.  By exposing our children to a wide bank of stories, we are helping to generate interesting ideas from them.  Responses to these texts also produce strong speaking and listening skills including drama and oral story telling.

We provide children with a range of experiences and give opportunities to:

  • Relate writing to their own experiences.
  • Write across a range of narrative, non-fiction and poetry genres.
  • Develop a voice as a writer.
  • Discuss and reflect on their writing frequently.
  • See examples of good writing through shared and modelled writing.
  • Write in response to a range of stimuli, including music, film and real life experiences.
  • Present their writing in a variety of ways, including using Digital Literacy.
  • Develop Grammar and Punctuation skills through explicit teaching.
  • Regularly practice and improve their Handwriting.
  • Participate in interactive and kinaesthetic spelling sessions.
  • Improve their spelling through weekly tests on different spelling patterns and rules.
  • Use dictionaries and thesauruses to develop a broader vocabulary.

Children’s Independent Learning Opportunities

latest stories
  • Year 4 PGL Residential 2017

    Day 1 Four seasons in one day We started bright and early ready for our adventure to PGL. Parents waved us off gleefully as we bordered the coach (possible looking forward to some child-free time). The coach journey was pleasant and the children enjoyed moving through the familiar landmarks of London and out beyond to the less familiar countryside. Once we arrive we quickly saw our family of federation schools waiting for us. We soon realised that we were in for a wonderful time with our friends. After a hearty lunch, we split into our mixed federation groups. Children and adults dispersed across the site to begin the many exciting activities. We climbed, jumped, swung and abseiled like we were fearless. We cheerer on our friends and supported those who needed our support. Unfortunately the weather did not match our enthusiasm and spirit as we experienced sun, rain, hail and then back to sun again..truly four season in one day! Nevertheless and not to be defeated we continued on and showed our true determination to do what we had set out to do.... learn, have fun and make new friends. Day 2 Facing our fears! After a full breakfast we were ready to face our fears and challenge ourselves to achieve all that we can. We had a range of exciting outdoor activities to try and we were keen to get started. At the crate challenge we learned how to belay correctly. Our instructor Katie taught us a rhyme to help as remember to belay correctly. We learned that it is very important to 'lock off' so that we can help our friends to climb safely. Stacking and climbing the crates was quite tricky and we had to balance carefully. When we could climb no more, we got to swing off and kick the mountain of crates over. We thought this would be scary but as soon as we jumped it was exhilarating and felt like we were flying. Another activity we really enjoyed was 'The Giant Swing'. This is a highlight for many children and we had been told all about it from the children who went to PGL last year. The swing is quite daunting to look at. It is like a giant trapeze suspended high in the sky. You have to have a harness and be safely strapped into it before you can have a turn. Your friends have to use their muscles to pull the rope which winches you as high into the sky as you dear to go. Then you count down 3-2-1....ahhhhh! It's definitely an experience we will cherish from our primary school days.

    Year 4 PGL Residential 2017
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