Devon Hospitals Short Stay School


Reading and Writing.

English subject lead: Jo Hugo

At the Devon Hospitals Short Stay School we recognise the importance of English being taught in line with the National Curriculum to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate


At DHSSS it is our intent to provide engaging and enjoyable learning experiences in order to promote pupil’s competence in spelling and handwriting and how to communicate and structure their ideas into their writing. We aim to support pupils during their admission to NDDH or RDE hospital or our ‘outreach’ service to assist in the continuation of their progress made at their usual ‘home school.’ 

 Students of all abilities, including those with SEND, and/or an EAL background are supported in meeting the requirements of the National Curriculum for English. Where possible, and when appropriate, close liaison with home schools for all pupils, including those working towards GCSE qualifications. 


We strongly promote reading to all our pupils;

  • Struggling pupils have opportunities for repetition to secure essential phonic knowledge.
  • Our choice of texts are increasingly challenging , for all readers, including struggling readers, so as to build readiness for future reading. We engage in reciprocal reading practice with pupils to enhance comprehension of texts. 
  • All teaching staff, especially in the early years, explicitly develop learners' vocabulary to address the gap between word-rich and word-poor to enable disadvantaged children to develop their vocabulary faster. 
  • Teachers encourage pupils to read for pleasure but they should also introduce them to texts that they would not choose to read for themselves.

Early reading is taught through systematic synthetic phonics; phonics and spelling skills are encouraged for EYFS and KS1(and older Key Stages when appropriate to the individual learner) to support pupils to learn phoneme to grapheme correspondence and use these skills to encode and decode words successfully.  Pupils come to us following a phonics scheme from their own school, and, while we acknowledge the importance of fidelity to one scheme, this is not possible to achieve within our setting due to the vast range of programmes used across the county. However, we are able to largely align with our use of the DfE approved Systematic Synthetic phonics scheme of 'Twinkl phonics'. Pupils are assessed as soon as possible to ensure that we teach them at their current level. 

 Older pupils who attend have a wide range of prior reading experiences and therefore, teachers liaise closely with the home school, where possible, to ensure that a consistent approach is maintained, allowing continuity for the pupils. The school has a range of reading books, including picture, audio and digital books, catering for pupils at EYFS and throughout KS1-KS4.  Pupils are encouraged to read widely in many situations and to recognise that reading is a valuable life skill, rather than simply an academic subject.

 At DHSSS books are at the core of our English provision for all ages; EYFS-KS4, weaving in spelling, punctuation and grammar skills where appropriate, and in accordance with the statutory English National Curriculum (2014) requirements. We have half termly topics (eg: Polar regions, Space, Plants) to hook learning from, in cross curricula based activities which writing and reading lend themselves to. This is reflected in our teaching of English and Literacy across the whole curriculum, by implementing a cross curricular creative approach enhances the learning of English.

 For Key stage 4 pupils we will ascertain the exam board towards which they are studying and provide targeted support in specific programmes of study. This ensures that their educational experience across both contexts is as seamless as possible. The school has access to the texts and anthologies that are studied in preparation for English Literature and English Language examinations across all examination boards. There are also a wide range of resources including films, graphic novels and games to support the variety of learning styles. 


Pupils at our School and those receiving home tuition are taught in a nurturing, personalised and multisensorial way which is beneficial to all pupils, in particular learners with Dyslexia and other SpLDs, in this way we are enabling pupils to make progress adapted to their individual needs.

DHSSS understands the significant impact that English can have on the personalised needs of each individual pupil. Regardless of age or ability, we enhance the aims of the National Curriculum by promoting a fun, enriched learning experience, including:

  • basic literacy skills
  • confidence and self esteem
  • reflection skills
  • collaboration
  • relationship building
  • emotional well being
  • resilience
  • developing imagination
  • escapism
  • creativity
  • social interaction 


Thanks to our links with the 'Read For Good charity, we not only own a wide range of books but are able to give many away! Half-termly visits from the 'Read for Good' storyteller provide enhanced cultural capital opportunities for pupils, but also inspiration for developing creative thinking and descriptive writing skills.


World Book Day 2019 at North Devon!