Vocabulary & Spelling


Throughout school, vocabulary understanding is developed through direct teaching and practised and applied in independent reading skills sessions, writing lessons and across the curriculum. Subject Leaders across the curriculum have identified the Tier 1 (every day or easily understood words), Tier 2 (words relevant across the curriculum including NC statutory words) and Tier 3 (subject specific technical words).


Teachers select Tier 2, some Tier 3 and Statutory Words which are taught, practised and recorded by the child in their vocabulary book (Years 3-6). A personalised vocabulary book enables children to access and apply words/phrases encountered in direct teaching during any lesson and includes the child’s personal zero tolerance words that they need to spell correctly and the opportunity to collect and develop their interest in idiomatic/figurative words and phrases.  In Year 1 and 2 a vocabulary display is used.

A range of models and tools have been shared with teachers to enable them to teach vocabulary in depth and consistently:  EYFS triangle, Y1 &2 Rectangles and Y3-6 Hexagon. These progressively cover the root word, word origin, etymology, dictionary definition, prefixes, suffixes, antonyms, synonyms, related words, sentences in context and idiomatic phrases.   Words are explored on a weekly basis and learning shown in Challenge and Success Books, in the learning environment building up over time and in Learning Journeys.  Vocabulary mats of Tier 2 words have been developed for Science, Learning Links and Maths.   Writing challenge fans enable words to be accessible to children at all times whilst teachers identify lesson specific vocabulary which is continually refreshed.

In every reading lesson, opportunities across the curriculum identify supplementary vocabulary that is also studied in more depth.  Children record words and phrases from all reading opportunities and teaching in their ‘My Reading Record’.

The Head Teacher’s Vocabulary and associated image, stimulates a curiosity and love of words through ‘Buzzin’ about Words’ where half termly, three words are chosen for whole school study, application, shared in the Learning Journey and a class display (including in EYFS).  The Head Teacher’s words have been developed over time and are available to children through the Head Teacher Vocabulary Book and ongoing display of the current year’s words.

The ‘Buzzin’ about Words’ competitions and regular sticker awards encourage children to collect and have fun with idiomatic/figurative phrases.  Play time games such as Pictionary and Scrabble provide further opportunities to have fun with words.  In addition children take turns in choosing a word from ‘Mrs Wordsmith’ which is available in every classroom

Children have the opportunity to show their understanding of words across the curriculum through the Clarendon Word Whizz by being expected to spell the correct word purely from the meaning given.


‘Letters and Sounds’ is used in EYFS and KS1.  The ‘Support for Spelling’ programme is used after completion of phase 6.  Teachers teach and test spelling using the NC statutory spellings. They provide opportunities for spellings rules to be applied in children’s writing through Early Learning Goals for emergent writing, shared writing, guided writing and independent cross curricular and assessed pieces of Writing.

Throughout school, children have weekly spellings which they are expected to learn at home and spelling tasks are also included in Homework grids.  The Collins Spelling Scheme (overview attached) provides structure and supports teaching e.g. etymology alongside our tiered vocabulary (which is specifically taught and tested).  The statutory word tracker (attached) is completed and moves up school so that teachers can fill gaps, continually recap and apply words in writing. Where children spell zero tolerance words incorrectly, ownership of the correct spelling is encouraged through their personalised vocabulary book, word mats, English toolkits and across the curriculum.

Children access Spelling Shed in school and at home to provide a competitive element which is celebrated through an annual Spelling Bee competition and bi-annual Spelling Shed Champion. A weekly leader board located on classroom doors is updated.