School Gateway

Hillbrook Primary School

Be Responsible · Be Resilient · Be Reflective


By the end of their Hillbrook journey, our intent is that our children have acquired a solid understanding of grammar, built a bank of rich vocabulary and a unique flair, carefully supported by engaging and representative literature. We want our pupils to leave Hillbrook with a clear and practised understanding of the writing process that real creatives experience. Following this process, our children will be successful and independent in planning and understand the role of reflection and feedback in the creation of a piece. With the ability to adapt their language and style to a range of contexts, purposes and audiences, we hope to develop the authors of the future.

The Writing Process

We recognise that writing is a complicated process and therefore, in order for all children to succeed, we create a community of writers that are resilient and reflective. CLPE’s ‘authentic writing process’ provides the pedagogical approach for our writing sequences, ensuring pupils follow a truly creative process and have the impetus to write for themselves. At its centre the model shows that a classroom needs to work as a community of writers; a place where the writer identity of all pupils is fostered, developed and celebrated. Communities of writers explore why and how we write. In a classroom the teacher adopts the dual positions of a teacher who is an active and practiced writer and a writer who teaches the craft of writing. In a purposeful writing community, pupils and adults work together to support each other to develop, reflect on and celebrate writing.

We utilise a range of teaching strategies to support our children in their writing process, including:

  • Speaking and listening activities
  • Text analysis
  • Technical challenges (spelling, punctuation and grammar focus)
  • Shared writing
  • Vocabulary rich environments and displays
  • Exploration of quality model texts
  • Drama and role play
  • Use of visual literacy such as film
  • Opportunities for freedom of choice in content
  • Purposeful writing outcomes

Feedback is given to children verbally as well as visually using the ‘glow’ and ‘grow’ approach whereby strengths are highlighted yellow and development points are highlighted green. Time is built into lessons for children to discuss, reflect and react to their feedback and to make improvements.

Reflecting Realities

At Hillbrook, we understand the momentous impact that a lack of authentically representative books has on our children and their relationship with literature. Through access to quality representative and inclusive literature, younger readers have the opportunity to experience the world as it is, as well as enjoy the possibilities of how it could be.

We were delighted to be invited to join CLPE’s Reflecting Realities in-class project, a ground-breaking research project designed to measure the impact of the use of representative literature in the classroom over the course of three years. The project has completely transformed our approach to teaching and to the curriculum.


At Hillbrook, our aim is for all children to develop a joined, fluent and confident handwriting style in order to communicate meaning clearly. We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking.

We believe that as a key literacy component, handwriting should be actively and consistently taught in developmental stages from Nursery to Year 6. To ensure consistency and progression with this, we follow ‘Pen-Pals’ handwriting scheme. As a school, we expect children, staff and parents to use ‘Pen-Pals’ clear, joined script in their everyday writing. We encourage children to take pride in their presentation at all times and work towards achieving their pen license.   

A Handwriting Hero trophy is awarded each half term to one person in each class who has made the most effort and improvement with their handwriting.

Please click here to view PenPals Joins Information

Please click here to view Hillbrook Handwriting Policy  

Please click here to view PenPals Progression from Nursery to Y6


Spelling is taught daily in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 as part of the phonics lesson. At Hillbrook we follow Little Wandle Letters & Sounds Revised programme which uses a rigorous system of synthetic phonics to teach the technical aspects of using letter/sound knowledge to read and write words including common ‘exception words’.

Click here to see Little Wandle progression.

Spelling continues to be taught progressively in Key Stage 2 in accordance with the ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ scheme.  Spelling rules and patterns are investigated, taught and practiced alongside ‘exception words’ in short 15-minute lessons three times a week and then applied within reading and writing.

Word lists are shared on a half termly basis as part of home learning and twice termly Spellathons are used to motivate children to learn to spell these words. All children have access to the fantastic ‘Sir Linkalot’ spelling app which they can use at home to support them in memorising and visualising words.