The Peak School Literacy curriculum is split into the three main areas of literacy: reading, writing and communication, interaction and listening. At Peak School we recognise that communication, interaction and listening skills underpin the learning of reading and writing and support learning in all other curriculum areas.


Communication, Interaction and Listening

Communication, interaction and listening encompasses the speaking and listening aspects of the curriculum but recognises and values that pupils at Peak School may use a range of methods to communicate and interact with others as an alternative to speech. Pupils are supported in a total communication environment which supports the use of PECs, AAC, core boards, Makaton, Tassels and speech as appropriate to the needs of each pupil. Pupils also access individual teaching and learning programmes which are focused on individual Speech and Language Therapy (SaLT) plans and targets.


Throughout school pupils are taught a structured pre-phonics and phonics curriculum as it is recognised that the effective teaching of phonics underpins the development of pupils being successful readers. Phonics learning sessions last between 10 and 20 minutes. Peak school teaches phonics through the government validated SSP Jolly Phonics scheme. For pupils who are ready to apply their phonetic knowledge, they access reading sessions, reading books at an appropriate level to their phonetic learning. Pupils that have mastered phonics focus on developing more complex comprehension skills. All pupils experience regular story sessions where they experience a range of genre through exciting, engaging texts that enrich their exposure to a rich vocabulary.


Pupils who are at an early stage of writing use a range of mark making and experimental activities. Gross and fine motor skills which underpin the ability to perform writing tasks are integrated into class activities. Pupils are taught progressive spelling, grammar and punctuation through Jolly Phonics scheme of learning. Pupils are supported to use a range of methods to compose ideas using narrative approaches at both sentence and text level to scaffold their writing. Pupils write for a range of purposes; they plan writing using adapted frameworks and use technology to support their writing.

How the literacy curriculum is organised

At Peak school we offer a topic-based curriculum, the literacy curriculum builds on these topics through the focus of related key texts for each topic. The key texts are chosen to ensure pupils access engaging, high quality texts which cover a breadth of genre. The literacy curriculum plan highlights objectives from each of the pathways that will be met by each text. All objectives per topic can be addressed by the texts chosen but key objectives are highlighted in bold to ensure broad coverage.

The Long-Term Plans are organised as so

  • Hills Pathway (students working at Engagement Steps 1-4)- this is referenced in a separate engagement steps curriculum
  • Peaks Pathway- Early Peak, Little Peaks (Engagement steps 1-6, Progression steps 1-2)
  • Peaks Pathway – Mighty Peaks and High Peaks (Engagement Steps 3-5)
  • Mountains Pathway 1 (progression steps 1- 6)
  • Mountains Pathway 2 (progression steps 2 – 8)
  • Mountains Pathway 3 / Post 16 (see note below)

Students in Post 16 pupils will continue to access literacy in accordance with their ability. In addition to this, the Long-Term Plans will outline any areas in which their OCR work will coincide with their literacy learning, to ensure that they are being assessed against this framework as appropriate.

When planning, teachers are expected to follow the sequence of literacy learning as outlined in the Long-Term Plans to ensure full coverage of the literacy curriculum across the year.


Summative Assessment will be monitored via the Engagement Profile, B2 Engagement steps and B2 Progression steps as appropriate. Pupils in P16 will be graded according to progress against the Entry 1 continuum, Entry 2 and Entry 3 descriptors in OCR.

Formative Assessment should include the use of, Pre Phonic phase skills assessment, Jolly Phonics recording booklets and phonics tick charts

Accurate record keeping of daily reading, and recording against targets using seesaw or annotation of work.

Relevant Links

Jolly Learning Website

Phonic Books Website