At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We have a rich, progressive English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. Our curriculum closely follows the aims of the National Curriculum for English 2014 to enable all children to:
These aims are embedded across our English lessons, but also made cross curricular to apply to the wider curriculum, making learning more meaningful and engaging. We will provide the means for children to develop a secure knowledge-base in English, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Rigorous assessment and review will ensure that we are able to provide targeted support so that all children experience success in English; we believe that a secure basis in English skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Early reading and phonics at Sacred Heart is currently supported through the Read Write Inc. Phonics scheme. Children are streamed across KS1 into small, phase-focussed groups. These are reviewed and assessed regularly and staff are offered training and development to ensure they are equipped with the expertise needed to teach high quality, daily phonics sessions. Parents are also vital in our bid to develop phonics, and we hold parent phonics sessions to train and support them on how they can help their children at home. Phonics intervention groups are run in KS2 to close gaps for targeted pupils and ensure a continuation of phonics development.
Developing a love of reading is of paramount importance for us at Sacred Heart, and this starts from the moment the children start in Early Years. Children are assessed throughout KS1 and read books from an age related scheme that is progressive for the children as they go through KS1 and KS2. Reading corners have been set up to develop a love of reading and to promote independence with reading within classrooms and regular library visits take place, where children can take home books from our well stocked school library as well as their reading book. Teachers support the children selecting books based on interest and ability level, in order to encourage a love of reading and provide appropriate challenge. Every class at Sacred Heart has a class reading book, which offers the children the chance to share a story as a class, read and modelled by the teacher. These link to our learning in other subject areas to increase engagement and make learning more meaningful.
Children across school complete several guided reading sessions per week. The focus of guided reading at Sacred Heart is of course about developing fluency and accuracy when reading, but also about developing questioning and an understanding of what the children have read. The approach to guided reading is therefore progressive, starting with reading and verbal questioning in small groups or 1:1 with an adult in early KS1, to more formal questioning and written comprehension work being completed in KS2. Many reading comprehension resources are available for staff, to ensure access to a wide range of text types and to ensure children have access to a diverse range of topics that link with their learning in other subjects. In KS2, children complete formal, written comprehension tests every term to monitor progress and inform intervention groups. Whole-school reading events such as World Book Day are celebrated every year, to further raise the profile of reading in our school and develop a love of reading.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar is taught as a discrete subject, often as English lesson starters or as short 15 minute sessions. Intervention groups across KS2 are established for children who need further support with spelling. Spelling, punctuation and grammar learning is made meaningful and current for children, by applying it to their writing focus every week.
At Sacred Heart, we are firm believers that the children should be writing frequently, and about things that are engaging and meaningful. Therefore, a large amount of the writing that the children complete is cross-curricular, linking to the learning being covered in other subjects such as science, history or R.E. Teachers plan and deliver blocks of learning focusing on different text types, which build progressively towards an extended piece of writing.
We have high expectations for handwriting at Sacred Heart, and believe it is important that a high level of pride in the presentation of written work is promoted for the children. Handwriting is taught in discrete sessions, where letter formation and cursive joins are modelled and taught by the class teacher and practiced by the children in their handwriting books.
Speaking and listening are vital skills for children to acquire and are fundamental to their language development. Children are taught to speak confidently and to adapt their speech to different situations. They are given the opportunity for their language to develop alongside their progress in reading and writing. They will also be given the opportunity to develop into careful and responsive listeners.
Assessment for Learning is embedded in English lessons and children are active in reviewing the successes in their work and identifying, with support from their teacher, target areas for development to ensure a continuous and individual approach to improving their work.
We regularly invest in new SEN reading books and library books.
We have several volunteers from the Parish and community who listen to readers. Infant reading books are matched to the phonics stage that the child is at.
We give many opportunities in and out of class to develop Speaking & Listening skills, including being showcased in school productions.
Any children in our Sacred Heart Pre-School who are ready to start reading at an early age are invited to access our Reception library.
We have Speech & Language Programmes of Study to help with children who are struggling, including Welcomm, Colourful Semantics. We also follow specific SaLT targets from Speech & Language for individual children (multi agency working).
We have also made a substantial investment in Spelling Shed, which is an online app to promote spelling across all age ranges.
We reward children who read regularly through class reward systems and vouchers.
We have good links with Lancashire Libraries, for example with the Summer Reading Challenge, and the librarians come to speak to about promoting the library, in addition to class visits there.
The organisation and delivery of our English curriculum has produced a community of enthusiastic, confident readers and writers, who enjoy showcasing their developing literary knowledge and skills. Children are confident to take risks in their reading and writing, and love to discuss and share their ideas. Outcomes of work in both English and topic books evidence the high quality of work and the impact of varied and cross curricular writing opportunities. These enable children to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully, considering the purpose.
Attainment for reading and writing at the end of EYFS, KS1 and KS2 is above that of national average. Our results for the Phonics Screening check are also consistently above national averages.
At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School we are committed to the delivery of excellence in the teaching of Phonics. We aim to develop each child so that they are able to read with fluency as well as develop a love of reading that will stay with our children all their lives. Being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling and has far-reaching implications for lifelong confidence and well-being. The independent review of early reading conducted by Jim Rose confirmed that ‘high quality phonic work’ should be the prime means for teaching children how to read and spell words. The use of phonics is one of the many skills needed to be able to be a reader and writer. We aim to teach high quality phonics to ensure the children have the best start possible in reading and writing. The learning of phonics is the beginning of children’s reading journey in being able to develop knowledge, skills and understanding that are an essential part of learning to read. In order to read and understand texts children must learn to recognise and decode the words on the page. Good quality phonics teaching allows the child to be secure in the skills of word recognition and decoding which allows children to read fluently. This will result in children being able to read for pleasure and will allow them to move onto developing higher order reading for meaning skills. These phonic skills need to be taught systematically and involve a variety of resources and teaching which meet all learning styles and needs.
At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School our children are entitled to a Phonics curriculum which enables them to:
– gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language.
– apply their phonic knowledge and skills to decode unfamiliar words fluently and accurately.
– read rapidly to apply what they have learned across the whole curriculum.
– create fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers.
– develop a life-long love of reading.
To ensure our commitment to excellence in Phonics, children from Reception through to Year 2 are taught Phonics in small differentiated groups meeting the children’s academic needs and learning style. Phonics is also part of teaching and learning throughout other curriculum lessons on a daily basis. The structure of each Phonics lesson as well as the small groups, uniquely planned and tailored to meet the needs of all our learners allows children’s learning journey of Phonics develop at a pace suitable for them so that their confidence and love of reading continually grows.
All Phonics lessons allow children to practise the blending and segmenting of phonemes/graphemes; The teachers also provide stimulating experiences and opportunities to motivate the children, using a range of resources to engage individuals and groups of children.
Our children are provided with a variety of opportunities to develop and extend their phonics skills in Reception and Key Stage 1. It will also be continued into Key Stage 2, where necessary to support those children who do not yet have the phonic knowledge and skills they need to be fluent readers. All Phonic Lessons follow the cycle of Revisit, Teach, Practise and Apply. This is to ensure that children are consolidating phonic knowledge and skills over time and that they are able to apply them in context. Consequently, wherever possible, links between phonics knowledge and understanding are made to learning in both Reading and Writing. These lessons proceed at pace and incorporate a wide range of practical and interactive learning opportunities to engage the children. These learning opportunities are carefully chosen to ensure that children develop their skills in aural discrimination and phonemic and rhyme awareness, blending and segmenting as well as grapheme-phoneme correspondence.
In every discrete phonics lesson:
– In each Phonic group there will be focus phonemes for the week for the whole group to be working on. The pace of how quickly a new sound is taught will be decided by the staff member leading the group alongside discussions with the Class Teacher/Phonics Lead. Planning of this phoneme will show a journey across the week so that children become confident in recognising the phonemes on their own and in words.
– New phonemes will be taught using the correct articulation and terminology and all children will use this terminology in their learning. E.g, phonemes, digraphs, trigraphs, split-digraph.
– At the start of every lesson phoneme flashcards are used as a quick warm up to refresh and rehearse previous sounds for each phase. This will be differentiated for each group depending on what phase they are learning. Phoneme flashcards can also be used throughout mini-plenaries and independent learning when children are practising phonemes.
– Lessons follow the structure outlined below –
REVISIT & REVIEW: Revise previously taught sounds and graphemes using flashcards.
TEACH: Introduce new sound and grapheme using flashcards and Interactive Resources.
PRACTISE: Children practise new and revised sounds and graphemes using a variety of resources to match their needs.
APPLY: Children extend their core skills with words and sentences containing the graphemes.
– Feedback will be given throughout the lesson to individuals to move learning forwards and drive progress. Children will be given extensions to learning opportunities for children to apply phonemes in context.
– Other adults will impact learning throughout the whole phonics lesson by using questions and reinforcement of key strategies taught with individuals.
– Outcomes to learning will be demonstrated in a variety of ways depending on the strategy/learning opportunity. E,g, multi-sensory resources will support learning in a practical way but there will also be opportunities to rehearse and explore writing of key phonemes and words.
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.
However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.
At Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School we aim to develop a love of reading that will stay with the children forever.