Subject Lead: Mrs Skyrme
At Fairfield First School we strive to ensure that all children become successful, fluent readers by the time they depart for middle school. A love of books and a thirst for reading is at the heart of our curriculum, and we strongly believe this is achievable through a combination of strong, high quality, phonics teaching. We believe wholeheartedly that children should receive rigorous, systematic and a consistent approach to children.
The Rose Report (2006) emphasised that high quality synthetic phonics acquisition is an important part of the word decoding skills required by children, in order to develop higher level whole language and comprehension skills. This approach is at the heart of our belief that by teaching children to ‘learn to read’ they will be able to ‘read to learn’. This policy outlines our approach at teaching a consistent, high quality strategy of phonics across the Early Years Foundation Stage, (EYFS,) Key Stage One and on into Key Stage Two.
Our aims are based on the following core values and ethos in our mission statement, which is: "Aim high, work hard, have fun and care for others.”
Our aims are designed to ensure that the school meets the needs of all, taking into account gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, sexual orientation, age, ability, disability and social circumstances. It is important that in our school we meet the diverse needs of all pupils to ensure inclusion for all and that all pupils are prepared for full participation in our multi-ethnic society. We aim to ensure that in relation to Phonics:
- We teach children aural discrimination, phonetic awareness and rhyme to aid reading, writing and spelling development.
- We encourage the use of segmenting and blending so that decoding skills provide a sound foundation for reading, writing and spelling.
- We ensure the teaching of phonics is lively, interactive and investigative.
- We enable children to use phonic awareness across the curriculum.
- We provide books that match the phonics progression within Phases.
- We ensure that children know the 44 phonemes within the English language.
- We will encourage children to be confident spellers and to use their segmenting abilities to spell ambitious words.
- We teach children to recognise the graphemes within words and associate them with the appropriate phoneme when reading.
- We provide children with strategies to identify and decode ‘tricky words.’ This will begin in the EYFS where children will understand that these words must not be blended and these words will be referred to as “Rocket words”. Later on children will learn to spell the Common Words and these will be referred to as Non-negotiable spellings.
At Fairfield First School we are passionate about teaching Phonics and believe that a strong start in the EYFS will help build the scaffolding for later learning in reading. The way in which it is taught is “bespoke” for our EYFS curriculum and ensures that children gain the necessary basis that they need in order to be effective readers and writers.
This is achieved by all children in the EYFS and Year 1 being taught phonic skills through Letters and Sounds, this is supported by teachers using elements from Jolly Phonics, Phonics Play and via teacher’s own creative ideas. All individual needs are catered for and lessons are robust and progressive. Children at Fairfield are taught and are expected to know the vocabulary associated with Phonics and will refer to phonemes, digraphs, trigraphs etc in their learning. Children in Y2, Y3, Y4 will complete the No nonsense spelling programme and any children from Y2/Y3/Y4 identified as needing extra phonic sessions, will be planned for accordingly. Our aim is that our children will have a sound phonetic knowledge and understanding and that they will acquire the key skills so that they can decode and segment confidently and engage with higher order reading and ambitious writing skills.
Phonic teaching and impact is assessed and reviewed regularly. This is to ensure that children are making progress and are “keeping up” with the new phonemes and digraphs that are taught, as well as developing key skills such as blending and decoding. In the EYFS, this is monitored daily for individuals and in Key Stage 1 and 2 this will be weekly. This is to ensure that teachers use these assessments to inform effective provision for all children, so that they are able to plan and deliver well differentiated lessons that engage and challenge all children within the lesson. This assessment should inform the rate at which children progress through the phases and secure a sound understanding of phonics. It should also highlight any children that need extra support and this should be put in place immediately. Extra support may be through the form of having additional resources sent home, joining an intervention group with our intervention teacher or through additional booster sessions with the class teacher/TA. These will be assessed continually in order to measure the impact and the Phonics co-ordinator will liaise with class teachers and our school intervention teacher to review children and monitor the provision that is in place.
Phonics Screening Check
All Year One children take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ - a statutory assessment required by legislation. Those who do not meet the pass mark will be given support and intervention programmes in Year Two, in order to provide them with sufficient knowledge and understanding to re-take the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ and obtain a pass mark. Those children who do not obtain the required level set by the ‘Phonics Screening Check’ will receive phonics teaching in the first term of Year Three. Year One children will be well-prepared for this screening and will take a practice screening in November, February and May in order to highlight any gaps or misconceptions. These can then be addressed.
Children entering Reception class from various preschool settings will be base-lined on entry by assessing how many graphemes they recognise. Phase 2 will begin immediately as children start school and Phase 1 will continue during the Autumn Term in Reception. All staff teaching Phonics are experienced and have a sound knowledge about the principles behind segmenting and blending. Children in Reception will be taught a discrete phonics session daily as a whole class, this will also incorporate handwriting letters too. Phonic skills are further embedded in writing and reading tasks in English lessons and are further encouraged across the curriculum in other tasks and activities. Groups will be differentiated to ensure that all children are reaching their full potential within a challenging and supportive environment. The driving ethos should be for all children to complete Phase 4 by the end of Reception , ensuring they have a sound understanding in order to start Phase 5 by the start of Autumn Term in Year 1. Where necessary, children that are excelling will be further challenged by joining Year 1 Guided reading groups and will be pushed on to complete Phase 5 earlier if deemed appropriate, proving there is no seal on what children can learn. Children are introduced to the “tricky words” and aim to read and write the high frequency words for Phases 2 to 4 before they enter Year 1. Groups will be differentiated to ensure all children reach their full potential and teachers work with groups on a rotational basis to ensure high quality provision for all. The underlying aim of Year 1 should be to ensure all children have completed Phases 4 and 5 and be ready to begin Phase 6 upon entry into Year 2. They should have plenty of practice in recognising ‘Alien’ or pseudo words, in readiness for the Phonic Screening Check and to give them the confidence to read any word.
The underlying aim in Year 2 is to ensure that all children have successfully completed Phase 6 while revisiting earlier phases to reinforce previous learning and to also re-experience ‘tricky words’ that they have encountered before. Children in Key Stage 2 who have not attained a sufficient skill level in GPC awareness and application will have provision in small intervention groups in regard to phonics and/or spelling across the key stage. For children in Years 3 and 4, the No-nonsense spelling programme will be taught.
In every class an English Working Wall is included, this will reference phonics/spellings. We also include sound/spelling mats that children can use in all classrooms during their independent work. In Reception class, an interactive phonic display is utilised and this is “ever-growing” as children acquire new phonemes. Many independent reading, writing and spelling activities are catered for daily. A number of recommended Phonic apps have been downloaded onto our I-pads to support our Phonics programme and these are shared at home too.
Parental involvement is key in the acquisition of Phonics. Each child in Reception class has an interactive phonic scrapbook that they add to every day when learning a new sound. These are taken home to consolidate. Additionally, in the EYFS children also have a reading folder which contains words for children to practice blending and progressive tricky word sets, ordered by Phases, for children to learn. A Phonics Workshop for Reception parents is held in the Autumn term. Children in Year 1 continue their phonic folder for additional phases learnt. Phonic homework is also catered for in Year One. Children in Year 2 and KS2 receive spellings to learn.
Fairfield First School will be adopting Little Wandle Letters and Sounds from September 2022