🎉 Excited to kick off our culture evening with standing room only to celebrate the different cultures of our student community through dance, music, and so much more! Let's embrace and enjoy the rich diversity of our school. 🌍💃🎶


🎄✨ This week, the festive spirit has taken over Harris Garrard Academy! Our students and staff enjoyed a delightful lunchtime of festive dancing, getting everyone in the holiday mood. Wishing everyone a wonderful and festive time ahead! 🎅🕺💃


Lunchtime! 🥪


The last pic, a seemingly decrepit old computer? This was the world's first web server, marking the very beginning of what we know today as the World Wide Web. It first went online over 25 years ago at CERN, laying the foundation for the development of the internet as we know it.


Mr. Adams has unapologetically taken the liberty of sharing some nerdy and amazing photos from the computer section at the Science Museum! From technological innovations to really nerdy stuff, our Year 8 students are having a blast exploring the world of science and technology.


🦖 While Year 8 is exploring the wonders of science at the Science Museum, another group is stepping back in time at the Natural History Museum! They've even spotted a T-Rex dressed as Santa. Who said learning can't be festive? 🎅


🔬 Year 8 are off to the Science Museum today as part of our character education program! We're excited for them to explore the wonders of science and technology. Stay tuned for updates on their educational adventure. 🚀


Last Week our Indoor Athletics team took part in the Finals. The team performed excellently, winning the event and now have the opportunity to represent Bexley at the in February. Huge congratulation to the team and


Continuing the celebration of our talented students and the Christmas spirit at HGA, here are more highlights from our festive performances! 🎄🎶 Our talent show contestants truly shone, delivering heartwarming renditions of Christmas classics.


Our musicians at HGA never disappoint! Considering Christmas is approaching, a performance of Christmas songs by our music students and talent show contestants left us in awe. HGA has got the Christmas spirit!🎄❄️


Our year 11's got a special treat today - a virtual tour of , the UK's national synchrotron science facility!💡Students saw the impressive particle accelerators up close. 📸 We're so glad our students could experience this cutting-edge science, even remotely!


There were some outstanding individual performances during thefinal of our yr5/6 Sports Hall Athletics competition today. Well done to all the pupils involved & sports leaders for officiating👏🥇 🥈 🥉


And the finalists!



The shortlist…



Calling all future historians! 🏰 Our Year 7B Hi1 students created incredible Motte and Bailey castles, demonstrating their understanding of King William's England. Bravo, young minds!


Heat 3 of the SHA took place with 5 schools competing for a place in next weeks final. Congratulations to who finished in 1st place & well done to all who took part👏Thank you to for officiating at the event 🙏



Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

Central Office

















Our Literacy Specialism

"But words are things, and a small drop of ink,

Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces

That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think."

Lord Byron, Don Juan, 1819–1824 

Phonics 3

The ability to read and write is a key life skill that every child. Here at Harris Garrard Academy, we ensure that every child learns to read and write through the use of a programme called Read Write Inc.

You can see our age-appropriate reading lists, with recommended books for children in Years 2-6 by clicking the links at the bottom of this page.

Watch our presentation about reading at Harris Garrard Academy.

Download the presentation to Reception parents (September 2023)

English alphabetic code

We begin teaching our children to read from the very first day they walk through our doors. English has a very complex alphabetic code: there are more than 150 ways to represent 44 sounds using the 26 letters in the alphabet. In Reception, children learn individual letters which blend together to make words. In Year 1 and 2, they learn to read the same sounds with alternate graphemes (Set 3).

Here is a list of Set 1, Set 2 and Set 3 sounds in the order that they are taught:


Whilst a child is learning to read, they are sent home with half-termly booklets. These contain QR code links to videos to support the children to acquire sound knowledge and reinforce what they are learning in school. Alongside handwriting sheets, these videos support your child to practise what they are learning in school.


QR code booklets look like this and are updated each half-term:


Please visit the following website for more information and videos about our Read Write Inc programme, including a guide to pronunciation:

Phonics 2What are phonics books?

Our children experience success from the very beginning. As soon as a child can blend the first sounds taught together, our phonics books (pictured) are introduced. These are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words.

Your child will practise reading these books three times at school before bringing them home. Sharing the story with you is an opportunity for them to show off how fluent they are becoming at reading.

See below for a table detailing the progression of our core story books:

Phonics 4

What other books will my child bring home?

Alongside these, your child will also bring home an engaging and closely matched ‘book bag book’ (see an example below). As these books are matched to your child’s class story book, they reinforce the sounds they are learning in class at home.

Phonics 5

As well as fully decodable phonics books, our youngest readers will also bring home a ‘free reader book’ from the class library in Reception or our school library (pictured below) for Years 1 and 2. Each week, the students choose a story which you can read to your child to immerse them in the wonderful world of literature. We also have a range of bilingual and picture books so that all parents can get involved.  


What are red words?

You may hear your child mention learning red words at school. These are words that children need to learn to read and write by sight because they contain parts that are not decodable. The story books and ‘book bag books’ that your child takes home will also include these words. Some of the red words may only be ‘red’ until a specific sound has been learnt.

See below for a table showing at what point your children will learn to read each red word.

Red ditty

put; the; I; no; of; my; for; he


your; said; you; be; are


to; me; go; baby; paint


all; like; I’ve; want; call; we; her; she; washing; some; so


what; they; do; old; was


saw; watch; school; watches; small; their; were; who; tall; one; brother; I’m; there; fall; any; where; wall


does; other; two; could; ball; would; wash; water; anyone; over; wasn’t; through; once; son; whole; people


should; come; many; mother; above; father; here; buy; bought; great; someone; another; walk; caught; worse; everyone; talk; thought; love; wear

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to find Mrs Sheppard and ask him. Also, look out for our next parent phonics session.

What is reading like at HGA?

Our Primary Library was renovated in 2020, and we are extremely proud of the range of stories which are available for the students to borrow. We now have over 4,000 books which include non-fiction, graphic novels, comics and poetry books. Over the last 3 years, we have built up our Accelerated Reader (AR) programme. Click HERE to find out more about the Accelerated Reader programme.

Students choose a book appropriate to their reading level (not too hard and not too easy) and they complete a quiz to test what they have understood. Students should bring their book to school each day. The expectation is that students are reading for at least 20 minutes each night at home. Children will need a space at home where they are able to read each evening. If this is tricky, please let the school know as we have reading clubs after school (with juice and biscuits) which provide a quiet place for your child to read.

Library 1 copy

There are over 36,000 quizzes on Accelerated Reader, so some of your stories at home may have tests. If your child would like to quiz on a book from home, then they are more than welcome to bring it to school to quiz on! To see if your child’s book is on Accelerated Reader, please visit this website There is also a ‘suggest quizzes’ button on the same page, so if they don’t have a test for your child’s home book on the system, you can request one!

Before the summer break, we also invested in the online reading platform myON Through logging on their online account, students can choose from over 4 million books to read online on a computer, phone or tablet. They can even link their AR Star Reader account and quiz during school time to earn points for words read.  

For Y2+ students on AR, the username and password is the same their AR account – first initial and 4 letters of their surname and HGA. Please make sure all letters are in capitals. e.g. username: FSHEP password: HGA 

What are our reading successes?

The students are really proud of our reading culture at HGA. It underpins everything that we do because reading really does change lives. Since we introduced AR, you can see in the below table how much our children are reading. It used to be the minimum expectation that students read one book a week, but it is so much more than that. Our students love to read! Ask them about their favourite book, author and genre!

New book requests for this year are flooding in. Get your recommendations to Mrs Sheppard!



We are so proud of the progress all our students made in their reading in 2022-2023. Our Reception and Year 1 students have been working hard to build their reading accuracy and Accelerated Reader has really taken off in Years 2-6. We have more Millionaire Readers than ever before (see below) and the word count totals for each class (see above) are really impressive!  


Lit6What is new for 2023-2024?

This year, we have launched the HGA Reading Challenge and the Diverse Reading Challenge. In the library, there are a plethora of books from a diverse range of authors that cover a range of topics. Will you be able to find 16 to read by the end of the year and achieve the Diverse Readers badge? Can you read all of the teacher’s recommended read by the end of the year?