Phonics Curriculum Statement
At Grange Primary School we recognise that the skill of being able to read is crucial for lifelong wellbeing and confidence. Reading opens up the world of learning to a child and has a far-reaching impact on aspiration and achievement. We recognise that a high quality phonics curriculum is key to reading acquisition alongside development of reading fluency (or prosody). We want to introduce a range of books, stories and poems from a variety of authors, cultures and contexts to encourage our children to love reading and become readers for life.
‘To learn to read is to light a fire’ – Victor Hugo
The Rose Review conducted in 2006 confirmed that synthetic phonics was the key strategy for enabling children to become early readers. It recognised the use of phonics in developing early reading and writing skills. It highlighted the importance of connecting language for reading and word recognition – the ‘simple view of reading'.
At Grange, a high-quality phonics programme, delivered by staff who are trained and confident in delivery, is a non-negotiable. We recognise this as the keystone for supporting children to develop a range of higher order skills of reading for meaning, underpinned by secure skills of recognition and decoding. Through application of secure letter recognition and decoding comes fluency in reading.
We also recognise that phonic skills need to be taught systematically and should include a variety of resources and teaching which meet all learning styles and needs, including books which are decodable and appropriate to the stage of phonics learning. We also know that some children will require additional support in developing their reading skills – so that every child has the opportunity to leave primary school as a fluent reader.
At Grange, our Phonics curriculum is planned and delivered so that pupils have opportunities to :
- Acquire a systematic and embedded understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language.
- Have confidence and skills to apply their phonic knowledge to decode unfamiliar words fluently and accurately.
- Read with increasing prosody to apply what their reading skills across all curriculum subjects.
- Become fluent readers, writers and speakers.
- Develop and maintain a life-long love of reading.
There is a culture in our school where all adults recognise the importance of being able to read fluently and therefore of the importance of supporting children to read. Our chosen synthetics phonics programme is Letters & Sounds. We believe the structure of this programme meets the needs of our pupils – and we are carefully in selecting texts and resources which enable us to continue to use this programme.
To ensure our commitment to high quality learning in Phonics, we ensure that all teaching staff from EYFS to Year 6 have access to high-quality training and support, embedded within a rigorous monitoring cycle to ensure that each and every phonics lesson is taught with fidelity, resulting in excellent learning gains for all children.
We allocate generous amounts of funding on an annual basis so that reading books and resources are plentiful, high-quality and are decodable at the stage required for each pupil.
We invest in our staff – with a Phonics Subject Leader co-ordinating the delivery of phonics throughout the school through a rigorous quality assurance and support schedule, supported by the Senior Leadership Team.
Children from Reception through to Year 2 are taught Phonics in small, differentiated groups on a daily basis. The groups take account of the ‘age and stage’ of the child’s phonics development and their learning styles. Teachers also ensure they embed learning from discrete phonics sessions are then embedded within their English lessons and across the wider curriculum. Children in KS2 who still require phonics support are taught in small groups or in 1-1 sessions as appropriate.
All phonics lessons follow a systematic and progressive structure, i.e., a ‘4-part lesson’:
: Revise previously taught sounds and graphemes using flashcards.
Introduce new sound and grapheme using flashcards and Interactive Resources.
Children practise new and revised sounds and graphemes using a variety of resources to match their needs.
Children extend their core skills with words and sentences containing the graphemes.
- identified focus phonemes are specifically and explicitly taught and practised, so that children become confident in recognising phonemes on their own and embedded within words
- correct articulation and terminology is emphasised and children use this terminology in their learning. e.g., phonemes, digraphs, trigraphs, split-digraph.
- resources such as phoneme flashcards are used as a quick warm up to refresh and rehearse previous sounds for each phase
- opportunities are provided for speaking, reading and writing, in order to apply phonemes in context
We recognise that feedback is a powerful teaching tool. Children are given feedback throughout lessons to move their learning forward and accelerate progress. Effective questioning and reinforcement of strategies are also used to support learning. Staff across EYFS & KS1 recognise the importance of an agreed set of consistent strategies taught to all children and apply these.
Regular assessment and review of progress is a key focus of our phonics delivery. We use 'Phonics Tracker' to provide us with accurate assessment information – this then enables the Phonics Subject Leader to meet with EYFS & KS1 teaching staff on a very regular basis to review the progress of individuals and groups – rearranging groups and providing additional sessions where needed to ensure that the significant majority of children keep up with their peers. Where needed, this continues into KS2, to support those children who do not have the phonics knowledge and skills needed to be a fluent reader within their own year group. All KS2 teachers and teaching assistants also access training and support to be able to provide high-quality phonics sessions for those children in their classes who still require this support. This includes regular peer observations of lessons and demonstrations lessons by EYFS & KS1 staff who are providing phonics sessions on a daily basis.
Children with SEN needs linked to reading and phonics acquisition are also supported with a wider range of phonics support interventions and resources - the Phonics Subject Leader will work with the class teacher and SENCO to agree an individualised programme of support.
We assess the impact of our Phonics curriculum in a range of ways which includes:
- regular audit of resources and staff skills, to ensure that provision is high-quality
- Observations of phonics sessions by subject leader & SLT
- Hearing individual pupils read – especially focused on the lowest 20% in each year group
- Monitoring of phonics plans
- Use of Phonics Tracker to provide individual pupil-level data, which informs next steps for adjustments in provision
- External statutory testing – Year 1 Phonics Tests – we achieved a 90% pass-rate in the delayed Year 1 phonics tests in 2021.
Reading at home daily will help your child significantly in this area as the books the children bring home are linked to the phonemes they are being taught in school.
We supplement our stock of reading books from a range of publishers so children are immersed in a wide range of reading material. All books are decodable so children take home books that are well matched to their phonic ability. They read a variety of fiction and non fiction texts which sometimes also link with English topics.
Year One Phonics Screening Check
Every June in Year 1, children across England take part in the Phonics Screening Check. In the test the children apply their phonic knowledge by reading forty words all containing the phonemes they have been taught. Twenty of the words are real words while the other twenty are ‘nonsense’ words.
The test is a good indicator of their phonic understanding which underpins their early reading.
Children do have an opportunity to retake the Phonics Test in Year 2 if they do not pass it in Year 1. Those children are also given additional support throughout Year 2 to be able to access this test.
Teaching Phonics at Grange
Synthetic Phonics is a method for developing a learner's awareness of the relationship between a letter or group of letters and the corresponding sound/s.
The aim of synthetic phonics is to enable begining readers to decode new written words by sounding them out, or blending them.
At Grange, we teach our Early Years and KS1 pupils phonics every day. Each child is taught in a group suited to their ability. The sessions are short, regular and fun, using a range of resources and activities to keep children enthused and motivated.
Our Phonics programme is based on Letters & Sounds, but we enhance this with a range of practical resources and graded reading books designed to support learning.
We also offer sessions for Parents, so you can support your child at home. These will be promoted through the Weekly Newsletter.
Our Phonics Leader is Mrs Marquis-Box.
How well do our children achieve in phonics?
We are very proud of our chidren's achievements in phonics.
In 2015, 82% of pupils passed the Year 1 phonics test, which was ABOVE the national average.
In 2016, 81% of pupils passed the Year 1 phonics test, performing in line with the national average.
In 2017, 82% of pupils passed the Year 1 phonics test, performing in line with the national average.