In the White Rose Federation, we believe that a quality Literacy curriculum not only develops a love of reading and writing but also initiates discussion and sparks imagination. Our priorities are to:
- Help children learn to read and to continue to foster a love of reading;
- Promote a culture where children take pride in their writing;
- Support children to write clearly, accurately and adopt style for specific purposes;
- Encourage articulate and confident speakers and attentive listeners.
A secure knowledge base needs to be developed in the younger age groups and then follows a clear progression route as children navigate through the primary curriculum.
Phonics and Early Reading Policy
Within the White Rose Federation, we:
- Follow the accredited Bug Club Phonics programme, which provides a systematic teaching plan, bespoke resources, a thorough assessment schedule, and online resources for small group and whole class teaching.
- Deliver daily morning phonics lessons in Reception and Year 1 to ensure that Phonics teaching is prioritised. These follow the same lesson structure each day, as outlined by Bug Club: recall and learning of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, blending to read words with a particular grapheme, segmenting to spell the same words, and sentence writing incorporating rehearsal of spelling with the same grapheme, learning, and recalling of tricky words and other relevant spelling and grammatical features.
Our programme follows this pattern:
- The development of aural skills is taught through in the moment teaching and continuous provision throughout the first two terms of the Foundation Stage 1 (Nursery 2) year.
- We begin the teaching single letter graphemes in the last half term of the Foundation Stage 1 (Nursery 2) year.
- Single letter graphemes, alongside digraphs and trigraphs are taught in the first half of the Reception year.
- Consonant blends in words are taught alongside a recap of single letter graphemes, digraphs and trigraphs throughout the remainder of the Reception year.
- Alternative spellings of phonemes are taught throughout Year 1. We allow class teachers the freedom to cover these graphemes in the order they wish, to suit the learning of their children.
- Once children are secure within the Bug Club programme, they transition to the Babcock spelling programme, as taught to Year 2 and beyond.
- Monitor the planning, teaching, and assessment to ensure Phonics is of a high quality and consistent across the school.
- A holistic approach to Phonics teaching, which looks for opportunities to incorporate and embed the practice of Phonics skills throughout the day. For example, the linking of Phonics sessions with English lessons, alongside plenty of chances for pupils to apply their Phonics in cross-curricular writing in the afternoon sessions.
- Use of paired work to ensure that every child is focused during every moment of a Phonics lesson. Typically, this will mean the children testing one another out on GPC recognition, working with a partner to read and write words and so on. Working pairs are also differentiated, with a high attaining pupil placed with a lower attaining pupil, in order that support is on hand at every moment.
- Daily formative assessment to ensure that Phonics teaching is clearly matched to the needs of learners and that gaps in learning are quickly identified and addressed the very next day.
- Summative assessments conducted in line with the Bug Club assessment schedule, to capture pupils’ GPC recognition and blending and segmenting ability.
- Monitoring of Phonics progress incorporated into half termly pupil progress meetings with Heads of Schools.
- Daily interventions in place for any pupils who are falling behind in their Phonics attainment.
- A supportive learning environment, with displays and table prompts showing sounds and key words from the Bug Club scheme. Grapheme charts displayed clearly in every Early Years classroom and smaller, table-top versions available for support in lessons.
- Parent information evenings, typically delivered in September, to introduce parents to our Phonics teaching programme, and in January, to instruct Year 1 parents how to support at home with preparation for the Phonics screening check.
- Regular training for EYFS staff, led by English lead, in the teaching of Phonics.
Within the White Rose Federation, we will implement:
- Daily story time in class, focused on the enjoyment of a text for its own sake. During this time, teachers use natural opportunities to highlight authors, ask inferential questions, point out key spellings and textual features, and model the love of reading.
- Regular opportunities for children to read one to one with adults in school. In Reception and Key Stage 1, all children will read to an adult at least once every week. Every class will have a Reading file, and adults reading with the children record key findings in the file.
- Every child from Reception to Year 2 takes home at least one reading book a week, along with a reading record, to encourage parents to write down sessions at home. Class teachers are responsible for ensuring that these reading books are at a suitable level for each child.
- Reading books are phonetically pure in line with the child’s Phonics attainment (Bug Club), and these books are supplemented by equivalent titles from other publishers, to promote the love of reading. Bug Club books are matched to the teaching sequence of the Phonics programme and will match the sounds and words each child is currently learning. The children should be able to decode the words by sounding out and blending, and not by using the pictures. The children also have an online Bug Club account, which is monitored by teachers on a weekly basis.
- Curriculum planning and English planning are text driven, and class teachers in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are given the freedom and encouraged to choose books which are liked and enjoyed by their class. If the chosen text proves to be uninteresting to them, the class teacher has the freedom to and is encouraged to change direction immediately and find a replacement.
- The planning and delivery of high quality, whole class guided reading sessions, to ensure comprehension skills are taught rigorously and consistently across the school. In Reception, children are taught three times a week for ten minutes as a whole cohort. In Key Stage 1, children are taught three times a week for thirty minutes (Year 1) and sixty minutes (Year 2) as a whole cohort. A different skill is focused on each time, including: vocabulary, inference, prediction, retrieval and sequencing.
- Monitoring of the planning, teaching and assessment to ensure reading is of high quality and consistent across the school.
- Ongoing formative assessment of every child during their weekly read with an adult will ensure their ‘Phonics Reader’ is clearly matched to their ability and their comprehension skills are developing. Those experiencing difficulty decoding will be supported through phonics intervention and more frequent opportunities to read with an adult in school.
- A reading area in each Early Years and Key Stage 1 class, which is designed to promote the love of reading. Displays focus on the children’s own favourite texts and incorporate their thoughts, feelings and questions about literature they have read. Books are carefully selected to include a range of genres and styles, and we deliberately include only a few titles at a time, so that the younger pupils can clearly see what’s on offer when they choose to read.
The transition into Key Stage 2 continues to develop proficient and enthusiastic readers. Teachers and support staff all have crucial roles to play in supporting the children in this. As a Federation we will:
- Timetable a slot in the school day for the children to be read to from their current class book or a text that the children have shown a specific interest in. Adults will model reading aloud with appropriate expression, engaging the children. Questions should be periodically posed to the children to ensure understanding and, where possible, a copy of what is being read should be visible to the children.
- Plan whole-class guided reading sessions which are to be timetabled three to four times per week to progress comprehension. This can be in the format of text, images or video media. The subject of the session should be based around the class book, current affairs or an aspect of the SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural) curriculum.
- Allow children to close gaps where possible by quality first teaching and via the catch-up curriculum utilising the National Tutoring Programme funding. This catch-up will be in the form of short-burst interventions delivered by a qualified teacher under guidance from the class teacher.
- Allow time for children to exchange books, either in their own classrooms or at the school library. Also make time for children to talk about the books they have read, swap ideas and recommendations. This will inform any restocking of the library to keep it current and within the interest of the children.
- Provide a designated reading area (where possible) with a reading display of books children have read along with comments and recommendations for their peers.
- Ensure children to take home a school reading book at or just above their current reading level. Children who are reading below their ARE take home two reading books; one for pleasure and one to improve their phonics knowledge. Reading records are also to be used at home and parents are encouraged to add comments. UKS2 children who are able to keep track of books they have read are able to update their own reading records occasionally. Teachers and support staff will look at the reading records weekly (see below for more guidance).
- Enable and encourage children to access Bug Club both at home and, when appropriate, at school. Bug Club books will match the level of class and home reading books.
- Plan the English curriculum around texts, immerse the children in the genre and deliver thoughtful, engaging lessons. If the chosen text proves to be uninteresting to them, the class teacher has the freedom to and is encouraged to change direction immediately and find a replacement.
- Listen to children read. In LKS2, children will read to an adult at least once a week depending on ability. This is the same in UKS2, but ‘free readers’ may be listened to less frequently and will based on the teacher’s discretion. Class-based records of reading with
- Assess and monitor reading throughout the key stage. Ongoing formative assessment will be undertaken by listening to the children read and in guided reading sessions. Summative assessments will be delivered on a twice-termly basis. Key findings from monitoring and assessment will identify children who would benefit from reading interventions.
- For both Key Stages, the Federation will offer reading workshops for parents to engage their children at home with books. The workshops could cover modelling reading to children, exploring different genres, asking questions of children about a text and making predictions.
- Again, for both Key Stages, encouragement and guidance on using the home/school reading records will be given to parents as this is an additional way of communicating and therefore strengthening the relationships between school and home. As reading is an aspect of learning at home, this is also part of the home/school agreement. Staff will also write constructive comments and questions to develop the child’s comprehension which could lead to more parental engagement: for example, Talk to an adult at home about Chapter 8, or Ask an adut at home to help you find the meaning of three unfamiliar words in your book.
The White Rose Federation aims to develop the ability of the children to produce well-structured writing where the meaning is clear, engages the reader and includes increasingly effective technical aspects. Throughout both KS1 and 2, the Federation uses Emma Caulfield’s Planning to teach Writing as a three-phase system: immersing the children in a genre, gathering ideas and shaping them into a plan and completion of a text by extended writing. To target spelling, the Federation makes use of Babcock’s No-Nonsense Spelling. We will ensure that:
- Children in both key stages are given opportunity to write on a daily basis to hone their skills. Writing will be of a cross curricular nature and there will be strong evidence of writing at length to increase stamina. Opportunity will also be given for children to edit and improve pieces of work where feedback has been given.
- Opportunity is given for children to publish their work, incorporating other areas of the curriculum such as art or computing, so the work is completed to a high standard and the children are proud of their final piece.
- Stand-alone lessons for the technical aspects of writing – spelling, punctuation and grammar – will be evident and the children will be given ample opportunity to apply this knowledge in independent writing.
- Handwriting and general presentation will be an ongoing feature of English. Handwriting and letter formation practice will be given to children at least three times a week in KS1 and LKS2. In UKS2, this will be at the teacher’s discretion. The Federation strongly believes that if a child perceives they are producing legible, presentable work, their motivation to repeat this will be high. Handwriting will be taught as pre-cursive in EYFS and cursive from Year 1 to Year 6.
- Celebration of children’s writing will be clear through displays, marking in books, messages home to parents/carers and in celebration assemblies/collective worship.
- Formative assessment and monitoring will be continuous and feedback will be given to children either verbally in the classroom or via marking using the Federation policy. Summative assessment will take place at the end of a three-week writing unit (two-week in Year 1), where a piece will be assessed against the Focus criteria. Through this monitoring and assessment, alongside Pupil Progress meetings, key findings will identify children who require additional support through intervention of in-class resources.
As communicators, speaking underpins a large majority of what we do, and within the White Rose Federation we want our pupils to be able to express themselves coherently, fluently and with increasing grammatical precision using standard English. We will enable children to do this by:
- Allowing them time to rehearse aspects of speech, internally of externally, in order to organise their thoughts so they can achieve their best outcome. Some children are less vocal may need support with aspects of speech.
- Explaining misconceptions regarding speech, including local dialects, which will feed into their writing, increasing the grammatical accuracy.
- Giving the children opportunity to speak in various situations about their learning and other aspects of school life to different audiences. This would start from peer-to-peer, small groups, whole class, whole school and then to the wider community. We would also expect children to communicate effectively when performing school productions, holding debates, delivering presentations, taking part in assemblies, during show-and-tell and showing visitors around school.
This policy will be reviewed every two years or more frequently, if necessary.