What does Phonics look like at Fagley Primary School?
What do we use to inform our teaching?
The Letters and Sounds document is used throughout school to inform the progression and teaching of the different phases.
What does Phonics look like across the school?
In Nursery there is a great emphasis on developing speaking and listening skills individually and in small or larger groups. Phase 1 phonic activities are included as part of everyday teaching activities and then introduced more formally in small group sessions. There is a strong focus on developing the children’s capacity to listen, concentrate and discriminate between sounds and also to prepare children to enunciate sounds correctly.
All staff in Nursery have received phonics training.
In Reception, Phases 2 and 3 are introduced and taught in discrete sessions. Though initially taught as a whole class, children are then grouped according to attainment to meet the needs of the children and address gaps in learning. The classroom environment reflects the age related expectation. This way, children who need extra support still have exposure to the full range of phonemes taught.
As well as discrete teaching, children are encouraged to apply their phonic knowledge for a purpose in the daily provision. For younger children in particular, phonics teaching is highly effective in enabling them to tackle unfamiliar words in a range of areas. This might range from reading captions or environmental print to writing in the role play area. Writing materials are widely available for the children to use and children can access books at all times as well as take them home to read.
At the beginning of the school year, parents/carers are invited to a phonics session where they can see how phonics is taught and the correct pronunciation of sounds is modelled. Activities are provided to model how to blend and segment to read and spell words and to show how these can be easily done at home to support children’s learning. Activities are also provided to show how this then progresses into reading simple captions and sentences. Parents/carers are also made aware of the expected phonics level for that year group.
All staff in Reception have received phonics training and have an understanding of how phonics should be taught effectively.
Key Stage 1
Phonics is taught every day in a discrete 20 minute lesson. The age related phase is taught in both Year 1 and 2 with target children receiving specific intervention as appropriate. This level of phonics is the expectation and as a link to ensure application, the particular grapheme-phoneme correspondences taught are incorporated into teaching in other areas of the curriculum so that children can use and apply what they have learnt in phonics sessions within other subjects. Pupils therefore achieve highly in the Year 1 phonics screening check from their starting point.
In addition to learning particular phonemes for the week, there is also an expectation that children will learn to read and spell the high frequency words. Word boxes have been distributed to each year group and all children within Key Stage 1 have a word box containing the first 100 high frequency words. These boxes are checked regularly by both the teacher and teaching assistant to ensure children learn the words. Known words are then placed into a word book and are revised as appropriate. Once the first 100 high frequency words can be read, children are then moved onto the next 200 common words. It is expected that children will learn these words at home and progress through them at a good pace.
All members of staff within Key Stage 1 have received phonics training.
Key Stage 2
It is recognised that phonics teaching and learning does not finish at the end of Key Stage 1. As children move into Key Stage 2, they continue with the Fagley Spelling Strategy based on the expectations from the National Curriculum. However, children identified on the phonics tracker that are still working on the phases as outlined in the Letters and Sounds document, are provided with a tailored catch up and revision program alongside the age related expectation for the year group. Key word boxes are also provided and checked regularly for these children.
All members of staff within Key Stage 2 have received phonics training.
How is phonics tracked in school?
All year groups from Reception to Year 6 use a tracking sheet that breaks down the different skills required in each phase in the Letters and Sounds document. It is used to track the recognition of different grapheme-phoneme correspondences and also the reading and spelling of the tricky words from each phase. These detailed trackers are updated regularly and are used to identify areas of development for children. The lowest 20% of children in Early Years and Key Stage 1, and those working below the age related expectation in Key Stage 2, are quickly identified and interventions put in place to address gaps in their learning. The trackers also allow children to be moved quickly within groups as they progress through the different phases. This information is also passed onto the next teacher at the end of the academic year so that learning can continue at a fast pace. Phonics trackers will continue through Key Stage 2 as appropriate to inform teaching alongside Fagley Spelling Strategy work.
How do we assess phonics in school?
At Fagley Primary School there is a strong belief that children should apply their phonic knowledge in other areas of the curriculum. During the writing process, teachers model segmenting of words within their teaching so that children will hopefully see the purpose of phonics sessions and apply that knowledge in their independent writing.
When planning group reading, books are carefully matched to children’s phonics level. Grapheme-phoneme correspondences that have previously been taught are practiced through word reading within these sessions. High frequency words are also repeatedly read to develop fluency and accuracy and it is expected that children apply the knowledge from phonics lessons within these sessions. Therefore, the way children demonstrate their ability to apply phonic knowledge in their independent reading and writing is the main source of the assessments made.