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St Mary's Bentworth

Church of England Primary School

Love, Respect, Belong



Learning to read and developing a lifelong love of books is at the heart of all we do. When children start at St Mary's, they begin a highly structured synthetic phonics programme called Little Wandle in Oak Class. This not only supports their reading, but also teaches the children spelling patterns. Reading is also taught through this programme in Oak Class and the children move onto Guided Reading in Ash class onwards. The Little Wandle phonics programme is enhanced by class stories and school library books for parents to share with their children at home. As our children become more independent they are taught how to choose books from our extensive collection in the library. This is a welcoming and warm environment, whether you are completing work, or simply want to curl up with a favourite book - our library is the place for you! Parents are also expected to read with their children every night. Intervention is provided for our children across the school who are finding grasping phonics and decoding fluently challenging, using Little Wandle’s Rapid Catch Up programme. 

At St. Mary's we have an exciting 'Reading Passport', where each child is challenged to read around a certain area! Oak Class read around Hampshire, Ash read around the British Isles, Lime read around Europe, and Elder read around the world! There are ten locations in each passport, with two books per location. These books are chosen to enable children to experience a breadth of genres and diverse text types, to enhance their reading and writing skills.

Each class from Ash onwards also completes Guided Reading, through whole class and small groups, where pupils work on the higher order skills of comprehension, inference and deduction.



 Children are taught to write in a variety of styles including narrative, poetry, persuasion, reporting and more, and to suit different purposes and audiences. We aim to link as much of our writing to our topic work, but also ensure that we complete a unit based on a quality text each term. We follow Jane Considine's The Write Stuff approach to writing, where the children explore high level, rich vocabulary and are taught grammar in context through different writing lenses on the Writing Rainbow (see below). 



We have a whole school approach to handwriting where pupils are encouraged to work though the levels to develop a neat, fluent style. You can see our handwriting mountain progress below.

The Writing Approach at St Mary's (PowerPoint slides and lenses)

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening skills are promoted through drama, discussion groups, storytelling and presentations. Whole school plays, concerts and Sharing Assemblies provide a valuable means of building confidence and developing the ability to listen to others.



The teaching of spelling at St. Mary’s is responsive and adaptive to children’s needs. We have a flexible approach to teaching coverage of the spelling curriculum, based on our children’s needs. We use various schemes as guidance to support our teaching.


In addition to the Little Wandle Phonics programme, Oak Class have one spelling lesson per week on a Monday where they focus on Common Exception Words or spelling rules. 


In Ash – Elder, a weekly, investigative, lesson is taught where children explore the different rules of spellings. These are taught in a range of ways to ensure children can apply the different spelling rules to unknown words. Consolidation of the rule happens across the week in short bursts to ensure retention. 3-4 spelling from the statutory word lists are also focused on each week, with children and teachers discussing the 'tricky' bits and creating different ways to help them remember these, for example mnemonics and illustrations. The statutory words are tested each half term. 

Below are the spelling lists for each year group

Ash Class

Lime Class

Elder Class


"I can't put into words what St. Mary's has done for my child in one term! Thank you!"


"We are well and truly blessed with an amazing school, teaching staff, support staff and head teacher."


"Thank you for leading such a wonderful, inclusive and thriving school."


"St. Mary's is a special place. Children just love it and are embraced for who they are, with all the potential they hold!"


"I have never come across a school so friendly."


"We never doubted our move to St. Mary's but we regularly get these moments of feeling absolutely certain that it's the best place for our children - thank you."

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