Subject Lead: Mrs Skyrme
At Fairfield First School we have an irresistable belief that EVERY child will become a passionate reader. 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 reading.
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 rigorous and successful for all.
- We encourage children to use phonic skills across the curriculum.
- We provide books that match the phonics progression within given 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.’
At Fairfield First School we follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. We are passionate about teaching Phonics and believe that a strong start in the EYFS/Year 1 will help build the scaffolding for later learning in reading. The way in which it is taught is rigorous and ensures that children gain the necessary basis that they need in order to be effective readers and writers.
All members of staff have been fully trained in Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and understand the importance for fidelity to this chosen scheme. Staff follow the planning and guidance mapped out by Little Wandle and all individual needs are catered for. Phonic lessons are fiercely robust and progressive. We believe in our Phonic scheme! 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 programme Spelling Shed 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 sound phonetic knowledge. We want them to acquire the vital key skills so that they can decode and segment confidently, as well as engage with higher order reading and ambitious writing skills.
Phonic teaching and impact is formally assessed and reviewed every 6 weeks. 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. Monitoring in a daily lesson also happens so that children that need additional help can have "on the day" keep up sessions. These assessments should inform the rate at which children progress through the phases and secure a sound understanding of phonics. Extra support may also be recognised as having additional resources sent home, joining an intervention group 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 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 continued phonics intervention.
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 during the Autumn Term in Reception. All staff and teaching students teaching Phonics are trained by Little Wandle and have a sound knowledge about the principles behind segmenting and blending. Children in Reception and Year One 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. Where necessary, children that are excelling will be further challenged via their reading books. All teachers teaching Little Wandle Letters and Sounds will follow the plans designed and the assessment criteria with fidelity and rigour.
Early reading in EYFS and Year 1 is specifically delivered at least three times a week by a member of staff in school. These are called Group reading practise sessions. These focus on three core skills; decoding, prosody and comprehension. Children will also have the opportunity to "show-case" their reading skills at home at the end of this period of reading every week.
The underlying aim in Year 2 is to ensure that all children have successfully completed Phase 6. Children will revise 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 Spelling Shed spelling programme will be taught.
In every class an English Working Wall is included, this will reference phonics/spellings. All classes have the "Grow the Code" Phoneme posters displayed clearly for children to refer to. They will be encouraged to use these actively so that they support their learning. Sound mats are also available for children as well. Many independent reading, writing and spelling activities are catered for daily.
Parental involvement is key in the acquisition of Phonics. Parents are invited to tale-part in a Phonics workshop with staff at the start of the academic year. This is where EYFS and KS1 staff explain and demonstrate exactly how Phonics is taught. Parents are then able to talk freely to staff during this evening should they wish. Online e-books are shared with parents weekly for children to read at home for further fluency. As well as children being afforded the opportunity to take reading books from the library in order to promote a love of reading for pleasure. This is important for our children and families. Specific documents to support Phonics are sent to parents via Google Classroom and can also be accessed via the class pages of our school website.
Fairfield First School has adopted Little Wandle Letters and Sounds from September 2022.