Here at Richard Cloudesley, we use a Comprehensive Literacy approach to teach the necessary skills for reading and writing.


The comprehensive, research-based system was adapted to support the teaching of Literacy skills for pupils with a range of disabilities, by Karen Erickson and David Koppenhaver at the Centre for Literacy and Disability. The system is now implemented extensively across the globe, structuring the learning of literacy skills for pupils with severe and complex educational needs.


The system addresses all the necessary skills needed to read and write, providing a balanced diet allowing all pupils the opportunity:


  • to be read to, 
  • to read with others, 
  • to read independently, 
  • to have others write for them, 
  • to write with others, 
  • to write independently,
  • to develop their phonological awareness
  • to develop the skills to talk about reading and writing
  • to develop an enjoyment for reading and writing. 


The separate ‘blocks’; self-selected reading, guided reading, writing and independent writing, interact with each other, ensuring that there is an immersive environment that routinely provides a model for these skills as well as providing opportunities for individuals to practice and develop these skills in a safe and supportive way.


The system has two main pathways, that for emergent learners and that for conventional learners. 


The balance of the diet is different for each, with a focus on shared reading and shared writing providing explicit models for Emergent learners.  


The development of receptive and expressive language skills is planned for within the Comprehensive  Literacy approach and across the curriculum.  Many of our learners have personalised AAC systems or devices to support communication.  In addition to planning for communication opportunities across the curriculum subjects we provide opportunities for our pupils to practise and develop their skills in a wide range of contexts. 

In both the primary and secondary departments, pupils have access to a library with a wide range of texts and materials that are suitable to individual pupils’ needs.  These are a valuable and valued resource.  They are used for research, reading, group work, lunchtime and daily reading activities in addition to reading for pleasure.




In addition to this comprehensive literacy approach we a have adopted the systematic, synthetic phonics programe- Read, Write, Inc (RWI)

We recognise that it is essential to ensure that every child is taught the sounds of the English alphabetic system in a structured way. As soon as pupils are confident in discriminating between a range of environmental sounds and from Reception onwards, children will be taught using the RWI framework. Staff will teach the sounds at a pace that will allow practice and repetition but also challenge for the group or individual. We will continue to teach pupils using this program from EYFS up to post 16, if children are not yet secure in their phonic knowledge . Whilst using the RWI resources in the phonics lesson, we will also be responsive to the needs of the individuals in the way that they are able to access the materials and the amount of consolidation required while learning.


Progress and assessment

The phonics lead and other staff who know the pupils well, will assess their progress each term, unless a teacher feels a pupil has made progress to require assessment sooner. This will ensure that the children move through the phonic stages at a rate that is appropriate and meaningful for them.


Training and support

The phonics leader will ensure regular training and support as well as coaching, for the staff delivering the RWI.


Home support

We will ensure parents are given access to online resources via the Oxford Owl website. We invite parents to workshops to show how they can best support their children at home. We know that fostering a love of reading begins at birth and that parents have a key role in developing this which we want to support.


Developing a love of reading

We know the importance of rich and interesting literature and will ensure that the books we read and share with pupils promote a love of learning. We will share 5 books (Our Favourite Five) each half term, books that we will read repeatedly with pupils so that they can grow to know and love them.


In RWI, pupils will work towards:-

  • Learning the 44 common sounds in the English language
  • Learning the sounds and the letters or groups of letters they need to represent them
  • Reading common exception words on sight
  • Understanding what they read
  • Spelling by segmenting the sounds in words
  • Reading with fluency and enjoyment