As a school we believe that being creative whilst empowering children to have ownership of their learning, is central to our curriculum. We design it to be exciting and engaging for the children as well as robustly linked to the national curriculum. Our learning programmes are topic-based with good cross curricular activities as well as teaching some aspects separately such as Modern Languages.
We plan many opportunities for children to be creative thinkers and to explore their world including our outside environment. Our indoor and outdoor learning environments are a crucial part of our academy provision and include role play areas and reflective displays which help our topics to be celebrated with others.
Our topics are planned for each term or half term and these can be found in the class pages. We very carefully plan each aspect based on the children’s previous successes as well as the need to revisit aspects where learning is less secure.
Policies for each subject are currently being updated in line with the academy’s practice and can be found in the curriculum policies section.
We use a wide variety of books and schemes to inspire children to read. They are colour coded based to match reading expectations for each year group. We also use guided reading sessions, shared reading opportunities and whole class text to develop children decoding and comprehension skills.
All children in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and for some children in Key Stage 2 follow the Letters and Sounds phonics programme. Children also use the school’s spelling scheme based on “Letters and Sounds,” and teachers ensure that all phonics and spellings are carefully matched to the needs of the child.
We share children’s successes and their next steps with parents and carers every term. At these meetings parents can talk to the class teacher about progress, achievements and targets for the new term and have a look through their child’s work. Teachers are available at the beginning and end of each day for information sharing. In addition to this we also hold a termly meeting with parents to discuss the topics and any additional activities that are planned for the term.
French is taught in Key Stage 2 using Rigolo and supported with Clayton Hall Languages College.
Each year we hold International week where children can explore the culture and language of a variety of countries, including France to give a real flavour and experience of different languages in context.
We teach phonics beginning in the Nursery through to Year 2 and for some children this continues into Key Stage 2.
Our teaching is based on the government’s published programme of ‘Letters and Sounds’.
In Nursery children begin with a focus group for ten minutes each day and in reception the structured sessions are 20-minutes daily. Children begin to use their phonics in writing and reading sessions and they have real pride in their work.
‘Letters and Sounds’ is split into 6 phases. These are taught as follows, but this may vary according to the needs of the children.
Phase 1 Nursery
Phase 2, 3, 4 Reception
Phase 4, 5 Year 1
Phase 5, 6 Year 2
We teach children to recognise individual sounds, pairs and clusters of letters in each phase. Children also learn to recognise letters understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words which cannot be phonetically sounded out are called ‘tricky words’ and are learnt through sight recognition.
For more information on ‘Letters and Sounds’ and the phonics phases please click on the links below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J2Ddf_0Om8 – help with pronunciation
In 2012 a government statutory check was introduced for Year 1. This assesses the phonics knowledge learnt in Reception (phase 3) and in Year 1 (phase 4 and 5). It was developed to help identify the children who need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2.
Phonics at Home
There are many great websites and apps to help support phonics learning at home. Here are some of our favourites used in school:
www.phonicsplay.co.uk – Buried Treasure, Dragons Den, Obb and Bob
Phonics Vocabulary to help you at home:
Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.
Grapheme – A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g. ough.
GPC – This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.
Digraph – A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Trigraph – A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).
Blending– This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word.
Segmenting – This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes (sound talk/sounding out) that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order.
We believe that every child deserves to be successful right from the start – the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school. We put reading at the heart of what we do and our ambition for our children is to love reading – a real life skill!
Our reading books are colour banded on reading ages so that children can have real choice when picking their choice books. We also have a phonics reading scheme that matches the phonics taught during the day. These books help the children to practise their new phonic knowledge at home. Both choice books and phonic books are sent home to practise and enjoy.
Book bands are as follows:
Reception pink and red
Year 1 Yellow, blue and green
Year 2 Orange, turquoise purple, gold, white and lime
Year 3 Brown
Year 4 Grey
Year 5 Blue
Year 6 Purple
Mastery Sky blue and black
All of our children listen and enjoy stories as part of their lessons and at the end of the day during story-time.
Teachers use a wealth of books to share with the children as part of their topics and these are often linked to other subjects. In this way children can enjoy many books which develop their language and love of stories. All children will have an individual reading book, which they will take home to read.
When working with a text during shared reading sessions, teachers will:
- Introduce key ideas and concepts from the text
- Revisit the text to check that pupils have made sense of the text overall
- Generate responses to the text using a combination of less-demanding and higher-order questions
Structure and differentiation
This might involve the children undertaking different tasks, such as:
- Reading with the teacher
- Reading with a teaching assistant
- Reading independently
- Paired reading
- Reading as a class or group
- A follow-up activity could involve working in skills books
When reading confidently, children in Year 3 – Year 6 use Accelerated reader which links books to on-line comprehension puzzles which check their understanding of the text. Teachers use children’s scores to choose books at the right level as well to check whether children have understood the text. Children gain prizes for the number of books read well. Do encourage your child to read at home for pleasure as well to as to practise their words.
The main academy library in the round room is a central area so that children can enjoy a quiet reading session and Year 6 look after this for us.
Children take home spellings each week which help them to practise phonics covered in class and spelling tests take place on a weekly basis, again we ask you to support your child with this.