At St Wulstan’s we have a systematic approach to phonics teaching from Nursery – Year 2.
Children will be taught phase 1 and 2 phonics when they begin school in our Nursery.
In Reception, all children will be taught Phase 2 and 3 sounds. These will help to reinforce the phase 2 sounds for children who have been in our Nursery, and phase 3 will be new learning for all. In Year 1, children will begin the Autumn term recapping Phase 3 before starting phase 5 phonics, where they will learn alternative pronunciations and spellings for sounds.
We use a whole class approach to phonics, underpinned by the DFE validated systematic programme, Story Time Phonics. Following the Story Time Phonics programme ensures all children receive consistency and continuity, allowing them to embed their learning and knowledge of words to become fluent readers as they move through the school. This programme was adopted as it promotes a love of books and early reading for our children, which we are passionate about here at St Wulstan’s. Both EYFS and KS1 use the story books as a hook to the daily sound being taught. Following this, the revisit/review, teach, practise and apply approach is demonstrated throughout the phonics lessons as it allows children to build on what they already know, support new learning and develop their working memory. Throughout the phases there will also be a set of ‘tricky words’ to learn which are commonly used words that are not decodable. To find out more about StoryTime phonics - click here.
Children that are not keeping up with the pace of the phonics programme are identified quickly through both ongoing observations and daily and termly assessments. Additional support in the form of one to one or small groups are offered to children either during the school day or during our morning or after school phonics clubs.
In Year 2, pupils will learn the spelling rules set out in the National Curriculum. This is also set out in the whole school spelling long term plan. Click here to access this.
Spelling rules set out in the National Curriculum will be further explored and embedded throughout all year groups. Regular spelling sessions are planned which include games, exploring patterns, dictionary work, paired investigations and other activities which promote accurate spelling in a fun context.
We must remember that the automatic and effortless reading of all words is the ultimate goal for our children at St Wulstan’s!
Phonics curriculum intent.
Intent: what is our Phonics curriculum aspiring to achieve?
At St Wulstan’s Catholic Primary, phonics is taught so that it is accessible to all children through a whole class approach. Phonics is a key skill that supports the development of early reading and writing as outlined in the Reading Framework – Teaching the Foundations of Literacy (July 2021) and the English programmes of study in the National Curriculum. At St Wulstan’s, we combine quality phonic lessons with exposure to high quality story books, selected by the phonics programme that we have adopted in our school, to promote the development of automatic and effortless reading of all words. This in turn will provide our pupils with the skills they need to have a successful start to their lives as readers and writers. We believe that a love for reading is the ultimate goal for our children as this will take them on a journey to make sense of the world through the expansion of vocabulary and imagination.
Our school has adopted the DFE validated systematic programme, Story Time Phonics. Using this programme, we intend our pupils to be able to:
Recognise, read and write all phonemes/graphemes within each phase.
Use their phonic knowledge to blend and segment phonetically decodable words.
Use their phonic knowledge to attempt to read and write more complex words.
Recognise, read and write common exception words that are not phonetically decodable.
Read age and ability appropriate texts fluently and with good understanding.
We believe that a love for reading is the ultimate goal for our children as this will take them on a journey to make sense of the world through the expansion of vocabulary and imagination.
Implementation: what do we do to deliver our intent?
Reflective staff with excellent subject knowledge who evaluate their teaching and are open to feedback to provide the best practice.
Our teaching provides children with a strong emphasis on rich vocabulary across the curriculum.
A cohesive and consistent approach to teaching phonics using the validated synthetic programme, Story Time Phonics. The sessions follow the same structure: Revisit/review, teach, practise and apply. Throughout this scheme children are taught the 26 letters of the alphabet and that these represent 44 common sounds in the English language.
Daily phonics sessions of phase 1, 2, 3, 4 in Early Years and phase 3, 4, (review) and 5 in KS1, whereby the children are exposed to new phonemes to develop their ability to segment and blend then apply this knowledge to their reading and writing. Each phoneme is taught alongside a caption action.
Throughout the phases there will also be a set of ‘tricky words’ to learn which are commonly used words that are not decodable.
Phonics skills are also embedded in our English lessons to ensure that children are developing their skills to become fluent writers, not just readers.
Additional support in the form of targeted one to one or small group teaching during the teaching day to support those children who need extra support to develop their phonic knowledge.
Before and after school phonics clubs delivered by experienced staff.
Regular reading opportunities and story time for children in EYFS and KS1.
Regular spelling sessions across the key stages in line with the spelling requirement set out in the National Curriculum.
Excellent partnerships between school and home, where staff and parents work together to support children in making good progress in their phonics learning.
Impact: how do we ensure that children are learning?
Assessment for learning is fundamental to raising standards and enabling children to reach their full potential in early reading. Assessment in phonics takes place daily using informal strategies and verbal discussions with children. This allows the teachers to plan for next steps and identify additional support where necessary. Termly assessments are then carried out to ensure that children are progressing at a good pace to support their phonics screening test at the end of Year 1. Again, this allows for additional support to be put into place where gaps are identified.
At the end of Year 1 children will complete a phonics screening test. This is a statutory assessment and data is collected by the Department of Education. Children who do not meet the pass threshold will retake the test in the summer term of Year 2.
We aim that the vast majority of our children will achieve this expectation and move forward into Year 2 to continue their learning of the spelling rules and patterns set out in the National Curriculum. We have achieved above national over the last three years and strive to continue to maintain this as a minimum expectation.