At Weeke Primary School English is at the heart of the curriculum where every child is a fluent reader and a writer. A wide range of rich, quality whole texts are used to engage and inspire children both in their reading and writing. Instilling a love of reading is our core aim throughout their learning journey from Early Years through to Year 6.
We teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Early Years and follow the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. At Weeke Primary, we also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.
We have a strong focus on language development for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects. An attitude of ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’ is integral to our approach. Where catch up is necessary targeted intervention is put into place which is timely and precise. Beyond phonics our rich texts drive the English curriculum and by the time children leave us, they read confidently for purpose and regularly enjoy reading for pleasure.
All writing opportunities are born out of our rich texts and are supported by the Weeke English blueprint (see example below) where there is strong emphasis on language development, integrated grammar opportunities, immersion into texts, exploration through speaking, listening and drama as well as opportunities for the full writing process. A progressive approach to editing and improving writing promotes an ethos of reflective learners. From Year 2 onwards the teaching of spelling is delivered through the No-Nonsense Spelling Programme.
Our Phonics Approach
All through Weeke, we use texts to drive our English learning journeys as outlined in our blueprint below.
There are whole class reading opportunities interwoven with grammar teaching, speaking and listening and writing opportunities embedded within each journey. Explicit reading skills are taught and modelled for example using the RIC approach (Retrieval, Interpretation and Choice see impact). This approach also promotes language exploration and the application of tier 2 words by our pupils in their writing. Each classroom is expected to have a fluid Working Wall including wow words. Our English blueprint enables us to have a flexible approach to our teaching where over a journey there is a balance of reading and writing. Grammar is both discreetly taught and taught within an English journey according to our progression of skills. A wide range of writing opportunities are born out of our immersion into a text. Modelling (including WAGOLLS), shared writing, pupil talk, editing and improving are all key features of the writing process at Weeke. From Year 1 upwards this main body of English teaching takes place, usually daily, for approximately an hour.
On-going effective formative assessment is used to inform next steps for all pupils. The impact of the English curriculum is continually monitored through our cycle of school evaluation, the evaluation of SIP actions and school data.
In reading, pupils in years 3 - 5 are assessed using the NFER assessment at least once a term (Year 6 use previous SATs papers). This evidence is triangulated with teacher assessment and work across the term in order for a termly summative judgement to be made. Early Years use the small steps that are set out in ‘Development Matters’ to assess the children throughout the year and use the Early Learning Goals to make summative assessments at the end of the year. Teacher assessment of reading in KS1 and is supported through Little Wandle assessment materials and assessment of reading objectives.