At Eden School, we recognise reading as a key life skill, which underpins access to the rest of the curriculum. Blackburn with Darwen is an authority with high social deprivation which is highlighted in our pupil premium numbers (81%). Our pupils often join us with gaps in their learning due to previously unmet educational needs which negatively affected their learning opportunities. We aim to bridge this gap by ensuring our children become successful, fluent readers by the time they leave us, with many young people having this outcome on their EHCp.

Children need to learn key phonic knowledge and develop skills in segmenting and blending as part of developing fluency in reading. We value and encourage pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills – enjoying success and gaining confidence from a positive experience.

The systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, using the Phonics International programme, is given a high priority for those identified through the use of both GL and IDL assessments.

Through the teaching of phonics following the Phonics International programme, the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all students identified as needing intervention. Phonics teaching is systematic, engaging, lively and interactive.

Each phonics lesson includes the following elements:

  • Revise – overlearn the previous graphemes and words
  • Teach – introduce a new grapheme/words
  • Practise – develop GPCs (grapheme phoneme correspondences)/read and spell new words
  • Apply – use new graphemes/words in games and activities to secure knowledge
  • Assess – monitor progress within each phase to inform planning

Students have regular reading sessions with an adult to ensure they are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge and where extra intervention is necessary, they also access IDL literacy daily. Children have phonically decodable reading books matched to their phonics knowledge which they are encouraged to read regularly. Books are chosen which are phonically decodable but have a high interest for KS2/KS3 students.

Teachers regularly assess children’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment grid. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning.


“Eden is a life-transforming school where we provide the best education for young people who have complex social, emotional and mental health needs.”

Jen Ashworth, Headteacher