Horfield Church of England Primary School in Bristol has been named as the 2016-17 UKLA Literacy School of the Year: A school where literacy thrives.
The school, which serves a diverse community in North Bristol, uses its vibrant curriculum to engage the whole school community in its work. The staff and children are passionate about the books they love. Every classroom door introduces the book the children are currently enjoying as a class, and inside every room is a well-used book area, with the teachers favourites in a well-thumbed special box. In addition, there is a new, purpose built library which has well-stocked collections of fiction and non-fiction. Guidance is provided for readers on appropriate choices, including the Horfield Hundred of books not to be missed before children leave for secondary school.
The assessors were most impressed by the way that the headteacher and staff place literacy at the heart of the curriculum and use key texts as a means of enriching all of the schools work. High quality texts are central to learning, and the assessors saw that children have opportunities to respond in a rich variety of ways. For example, poems written by children after a study of Shakespeares The Tempest had been set to music and performed by the choir. Children across the school had the opportunity to enjoy choral speaking; the rich and varied language they internalise feeds into their spoken and written communication.
Headteacher Jenny Taylor said: At the heart of the way in which we teach Literacy at our school is a fundamental commitment to unlocking the creative potential of all children through immersive learning.
"Working in this way, powerful and engaging texts ignite childrens imaginations, promote a love of books and promote deep oral and written responses. Meaningful, memorable learning opportunities in Literacy inspire children across the curriculum. Experiences in Choral Speaking, Art, Dance and Drama enable children to explore texts through creative immersion.
"The whole staff team is committed to inspiring one another by sharing innovative practice. This enables a thriving, embedded approach across the school which includes extensive use of all that we have available to us, such as our school grounds; these are used by staff to provide stimulating, inspirational language experiences.
The standards reached in speaking, reading and writing, underpinned by a rigorous approach to the acquisition of basic skills, are exceptionally high because the children are challenged to produce their very best work across the curriculum. The work in their exercise books and in their Imagination Station portfolios is beautifully produced and presented; this reflects the care taken by the headteacher and staff in collecting their work in scrapbooks, wall displays and published books which are shared widely.
The children at Horfield are very effective and persuasive ambassadors for the schools approach to literacy. They can talk enthusiastically about the books they are reading and are knowledgeable about their reading, writing and performance. They are rightly proud of their school and their work.