At DESS, we pride ourselves on providing children with a rich and varied Literacy experience. We strive to excite and engage children with lessons which are relevant to the world in which they are growing up, and to prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow. Where possible, Literacy is linked to the thematic learning which is taking place in school, and pupils are given opportunities to shape the direction of their learning.

Through creative teaching methods, children at DESS take part in a wide variety of Literacy learning experiences such as research, drama, delivering presentations to live audiences, creating e-books, using dance to inspire writing, performance poetry and role-play. Technology is integrated to provide children with a learning experience which equips them with the literacy skills required in the modern world.

Reading and Writing are essential skills and children are provided with the tools needed to excel in both areas of the curriculum. We inspire children to become lifelong readers for pleasure and provide meaningful reasons to write, giving children an understanding of why literacy skills matter.


Our curriculum also provides comprehensive coverage of the 2014 National Curriculum, ensuring a rigorous approach to teaching of Spelling and Grammar.

As children at DESS are reflective learners, we foster a learning environment where children have a clear understanding of their steps to success and an awareness of the next steps in their learning. Skilled differentiation and use of support staff enable this exciting learning to be accessible to all of our children.


Irresistible Literacy: an example from upper Key Stage 2

As part of a thematic unit entitled, ‘Survival’, Year Five children learned about the lifecycle of a honey bee. They were then asked the question: ‘Why are honeybees linked to human survival?’ Using an online learning platform, children used their research skills to find out more about the plight of the bees. In small groups, they then produced a complex ‘consequence wheel’ diagram to illustrate all of the dangers that honeybee extinction may create for the human race. The children were then asked, ‘What shall we do about this?’ They decided to write letters to Seven Days newspaper, to make readers aware of the issue and to give advice about what people could do to help. This provided an excellent opportunity to teach the skills of persuasive writing. In addition, the children felt so passionately about the subject that they asked to plan and carry out a campaign at break times to raise awareness of the issues amongst the school community. The children went on to produce persuasive fliers, leaflets and posters and even sandwich boards and choreographed dances to get their message across!


Irresistible Literacy: an example from Key Stage 1

In the third term, Year One explored traditional stories, looking closely at characters and settings, in a theme entitled ‘Whose Shoe?’. Initially the children made some exciting discoveries in the classroom! Further clues arrived throughout the term linked to a range of fairy tale characters, including Cinderella, creating excitement amongst all of the children. In response to these exciting discoveries the children created their own versions of such stories, for example ‘The Elves and the Toymaker’. In addition the children wrote descriptive, persuasive letters to the characters when asked for help, designed and labelled their own shoes and researched shoes and fairy tale characters using ‘Padlet’ on the Ipads. They also took on different roles in the ‘Cobbler’s Corner’ which developed their speaking and listening skills.


Irresistible Literacy: an example from lower Key Stage 2

As part of our theme Cause and effect, Year 3 children studied a popular favourite, ‘The Iron Man’ by Ted Hughes as their main stimulus to write an alternative narrative ending in the style of a particular author.

With emotions and character a central theme in the story, teachers decided to combine some Literacy and Dance lessons to capture the mammoth movements of the iron man and explore the consequences of his actions. Furthermore, we wanted the children to understand the intrinsic mechanics of the Iron Man’s character and develop empathy for his plight.

Using our expert dance teacher, the children explored movements, actions and feelings based on what they were reading within the text. The ever-changing moods of the Iron Man were re-created using powerful music, freeze frame and movement. The quality of writing that was produced was exceptional, as the children had experienced the inner feelings of the Iron Man and were able to capture this when writing their own similes, metaphors and descriptive language.