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  • Francois Walker

Excellence after phonics –A headteachers journey

So you’ve chosen a phonics programme and are seeing it have a positive impact. But what happens to the reading curriculum after pupils learn to decode through a phonics programme?

We asked ourselves this question several months ago. At first we tried to take pupils through a collection of books grouped into book bands. Then we took our phonics programmes comprehension programme and used it to teach reading. Finally, out of pure frustration we realised that all our pupils could decode well because of the phonics programme we followed.

This revelation freed us. We were no longer bound by book bands or a phonics programmes bolt on. We could choose to study and enjoy books with our pupils because all our pupils could read.

Everyone an Expert

To help us on the journey we called on the team of experts at Master Readers. The training helped us develop a shared understanding of how to deliver excellence after phonics. The trainer worked with us before the training sessions to select books which complemented our curriculum. Following this, all teachers and teaching assistants attended training which helped us understand how to deliver great reading lessons through a well-planned reading curriculum and effective pedagogy.


To refine the quality of our teaching we booked a series of implementation mornings. The same expert joined us for several mornings, joined lessons and spent time teaching with teachers. Sometimes teachers were observed and given feedback, at other times the expert taught while our staff observed them. This developed confidence and helped us refine the way we taught reading.

The impact of Master Readers can be seen when walking through my school each morning. Staff are enjoying teaching reading; pupils are calm and focussed, outcomes are improving because of the progress our pupils are making.

Love of Reading

But, what is most noticeable, is the love of reading pupils are developing.

Catherine Grace

Head of School

St Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Primary School

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