Our team of English Teaching and Learning Leads will keep you up to date with current research and effective pedagogical approaches in English. One of our key strategic objectives is improving outcomes for vulnerable groups of children including disadvantaged pupils and in these unprecedented and challenging times, we will be supporting schools to ameliorate the COVID gap

Empowering Primary Reading and Writing: Reflections from the SAfE English Leads Conference

“What am I doing as a teacher to put language at the heart of this?”

Jane Considine

Putting language first

There’s no shortage of challenges for Primary subject leads as we step into a post Covid 19 classroom.

At the start of our one day Primary English Leads conference, SAfE’s Teaching & Learning team posed our subject leads with the question: what are their priorities this term?

The biggest priorities identified amongst our attendees were Reading for Pleasure (15%), Improving Pupil Stamina in Writing, particularly after COVID 19 (14%), Early Reading (14%), Vocabulary (13%), and SEND and disadvantaged pupils (11%).

Empowering our learners

Our day began with an engaging and highly interactive session with Jane Considine, author of ‘The Write Stuff’, who walked us through her method of ‘Sentence Stacking’ in writing.

Throughout her session, Jane reminded us of the importance of empowering our learners as writers, or – to use Jane’s own colourful metaphor  - giving pupils “the means to independently build their own millennium Falcon”.




Want to know what to expect during an Ofsted Deep Dive into Reading? See here for more information:



News and Updates; Summary of DfE-The reading framework: teaching the foundations of literacy

Please find a summary of the recently released reading framework and how SAfE can support you with these. The main strand throughout the framework is that reading is fundamental to education.

Click here to download this document.

SAfE Primary English Bulletin 

Please see this SAfE Primary English Subject Leader end of year Bulletin that was sent to all English Leaders on our database. If you did not receive the email, please email us so we have your email for next term.

Click here to download a copy of this Bulletin. 

SAfE Cross Phase Strategy to Raise Outcomes for Disadvantaged Learners in Surrey 20-21


Data shows that at all key stages outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in Surrey are lower than disadvantaged pupils in England despite there being a significantly lower proportion.

This has been a concern for a number of years and despite significant effort and work the gap is not reducing. A key challenge is that the great majority of disadvantaged pupils are spread across schools with small numbers of disadvantaged pupils.

SAfE has been working with the Education Endowment Foundation, The Education Policy Institute and other leading national experts to develop a Surrey specific strategy that is based on robust evidence.

Evidence shows that improving outcomes is not about a single intervention rather a combination of joined up approaches. Therefore, our strategy is based on three inter-linked strands

Literacy and Early Language Acquisition

Tackling the Disadvantage Gap

A key way to tackle the disadvantage gap in the early years and throughout primary school is to improve children’s literacy and language skills. On average, 40 per cent of the overall gap between disadvantaged 16-year-olds and their peers has already emerged by the age of five.

These gaps are particularly pronounced in early language and literacy.

Black and Wiliam (2018) consider: “Children from working class families, who are only familiar with the restricted code of their everyday language, may find it difficult to engage with the elaborated code that is required by the learning discourse of the classroom and which those from middle class families experience in their home lives.”

Therefore, central to our strategy is a focus on the importance of supporting vocabulary and literacy development particularly for children who do not develop this foundational knowledge before they start school are helped to catch up.


Key Research That Informs Pedagogy


We base our work on the best available current research and work with a number of experts in their fields to ensure we have an innovative approach. Here are some of the current research publications that underpin our approach to supporting pedagogy in English


EEF: Literacy Guidance reports

NFER: School Responses to Covid19: Pupil engagement in remote learning

National Literacy Trust: Children and young people’ reading in 2020 before and during the COVID-19 lockdown

Great Teaching Toolkit: Evidence Review 2020  

Bridging the Word Gap at Transition: Oxford Language Report 2020 

Professional Learning Opportunities and Events


As part of our mission to ensure all pupils achieve the best possible outcomes, SAfE are committed to providing high quality professional learning.

Our ‘Supporting Pedagogy in English and Phonics’ programme will build on the autumn term webinars on our Language and Literacy strategy to ameliorate the COVID-19 Gap. We have designed a programme of professional learning which will demonstrate quality first teaching pedagogy that is shown to make a significant difference to pupil’s learning. We will use current research such as the EEF Improving Literacy report, to support teachers to develop effective approaches to improve outcomes.

The English Teaching and Learning Leads can offer bespoke in-school support over a period of time to:


  • Support implementation of a project or whole school initiative including whole school training and a review of the impact of initiatives.

  • Develop leadership skills of English Leaders to drive standards in their subject.

  • Support the development of identified teachers’ pedagogy to ensure they are delivering quality first teaching.

  • ​​Support Subject Leaders to monitor and evaluate their subject in terms of their Intent, Implementation and Impact, and identify key priorities and actions to ensure improvement.

Leadership of English and Phonics


We hold regular network meetings for subject leaders to support them with the leadership of their subject. The aims of these sessions are to


  • Collaborate with peers and facilitate discussion between schools​

  • Share expertise and good practice from Teaching and Learning Leads, other subject leaders and schools​

  • Keep abreast of key research, pedagogy, latest local/national initiatives and resources to ensure high quality English provision​

  • Develop leadership skills​

  • Improve outcomes for pupils​

  • Inform SAfE’s professional learning programme​

Resources Index



To support quality first teaching, we will signpost you to useful websites and resources to support the teaching of English in primary schools.

We will also include resources to support your remote learning provision for English through online tools and resources as well as offline activities but many of the resources can be used in both the school setting as well as part of remote learning.

We will regularly update this list based on ideas from subject leaders as well as our own suggestions. We hope that signposting teachers to this list will decrease teacher workload allowing more time to focus on delivering high quality lessons that enable all children to achieve the best possible outcomes.

SAfE holds regular network meetings for English and Phonics, please find below downloadable resources from these meetings.

Click here to see Network Resources


Thank you to those who attended our Primary English Recovery Network on June 22nd 2020, please find below the slides from this event:



Thank you to those who attended our Primary English Recovery Network on July 13th 2020, please find below the slides from this event.
You can also download an example weekly lesson plan for transition back in to school by clicking here



Thank you to those who attended our Primary English Network on October 6th 2020. Please find below the slides from this event:



Thank you to those who attended our Phonics Network Meeting on January 21st 2021, please find below the slides from this event:



Thank you to those who attended our English Network Meeting on January 26th 2021, please find below the slides from this event:



Thank you to those who attended our SAfE English Network Meeting on March 16th 2021, please find below the slides from this event:


Thank you to those who attended our SAfE English Network Meeting on July 6th 2021, please find below the slides from this event.


Description Link to Resource
Legal requirements from publishers to share stories online during remote learning Click here!
Author videos and schemes of work Click here!
Free e-books Click here!
Online books Click here!
Book extracts useful for guided reading and comprehensions Click here!
Suggestions for remote learning Click here!
Audiobooks and e-books Click here!
Audiobooks Click here!
American celebrities reading stories Click here!
Selection of free e-books Click here!
Free e-book each week Click here!
EEF guide for parents to support reading at home Click here!
Virtual school library, every week a popular children's author or illustrator will provide you with free books,
exclusive videos and their top three recommended reads
Click here!
Description Link to Resource
Free membership for English leads; planning, resources, picture of the day, grammar, etc. Click here!
Video and picture stimuluses and schemes of work Click here!
Free home learning packs Click here!
Variety of resources Click here!
Creative writing prompts Click here!
Lesson plans, live lessons on YouTube, free CPD for teachers Click here!
Grammar support for parents Click here!
Free resources to support the development of vocabulary Click here!
Grammar and Literacy glossary with activities and some video explanations
that could be used for pre-teaching, consolidation, guided sessions
Click here!
Oxford Owl videos on a range of subjects including support for parents,
storytelling by authors, grammatical terms explanations with examples
Click here!
Description Link to Resource
Free printable resources Click here!
Free printable cursive resources Click here!
Interactive letter formation practise Click here!
Link to letter formation support Click here!
Variety of lined paper that can be downloaded for free Click here!
Letter join, home subscription £35 for the year. Schools can trial free for a month.
Can use to teach handwriting via whiteboard but pupils can also access practice on ipads and tablets
as well as printable sheets. Includes animations to demonstrate.
Click here!
Description Link to Resource
Online spelling game (trial) Click here!
Description Link to Resource
Quizlet - Pre-made flashcards as well as create your own. Allows you to learn and test knowledge to provide feedback. Click here!
Kahoot - Pre-made and as well as create your own quizzes to check retrieval of knowledge, independent or whole class practice Click here!
Resources that support retrieval practice (printables) Click here!
Blog about using retrieval practice in primary settings Click here!
Description Link to Resource
Textbooks that could be purchased to support pupils with no internet access Click here!

Whiteknights English Hub is the Hub that  is located in Reading, serving the south central region including Surrey It is one of only 34 schools across England appointed by the DfE to take a leading role in supporting schools to improve their teaching of phonics, early reading and early language. They cover a key area in the South Central of England and provide training and development to schools within the region through a collaborative approach to achieve better results for children.

Please take a look at their website for further information and to look at the CPD on offer to schools across the region.   

Organisations that Support Children’s Literacy Development

Click on the image to take you to the corresponding page!

Literacy Trust

An independent charity working with schools and communities to give disadvantaged children the literacy skills to succeed in life.

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

An independent UK charity with a global reputation for quality research and CPD into literacy and teaching for primary schools.

The Children’s Literacy Charity

The Children’s Literacy Charity’s vision is to close the literacy gap for all disadvantaged children, enabling them to achieve their true potential. They deliver interventions and programmes and advice for parents supporting their child at home.

Organisations that Support The Teaching of English

Click on the image to take you to the corresponding page!

Book Trust

UK's largest reading charity providing 3.9 million children each year with books, resources and support to help develop a love of reading.


UKLA aims to inform all those concerned with the development of language, literacy and communication, encouraging them in reflection and dialogue, supporting their practice and giving public voice to their concerns.


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