Phonics and Spelling Intent
At Phoenix Community Primary School we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics is of high priority.
In Reception and Key Stage 1, this manifests itself in a rigorous, robust and regular daily phonics lesson in class. This strategy delivers consistent practice, progression and continuity. To ensure this learning is embedded, the fully decodable reading books we send home match the phonemes being taught that week in class as well as the children’s weekly spelling list.
Phonics lessons at Phoenix are taught discretely as a whole class and are totally separate from our reading/comprehension lessons. Children are taught, focussing on individual sounds, groups of sounds and common exception words within different ‘phases’. We have an agreed progression for the teaching of new sounds and use a variety of resources to support this.
Children who require support are given interventions from teachers and teaching assistants, either within the whole class lesson or as part of planned sessions that take place in addition to the lesson.
Spelling at Phoenix is taught in daily 10-15 minute child-led sessions we call ‘Word Study’. In line with our school’s ethos surrounding metacognition and enquiry-based learning, these Word Study lessons put children firmly into the driving seat of their learning of spelling. In groups with their peers of a similar spelling level and confidence, the children seek patterns, conduct investigations around words with identical spelling patterns and move beyond just pure memorisation of words. This is achieved through the pupils running their own spelling enquiries based on the weekly spellings given to them by their teachers (grouped by graphemes) in a cycle of activities that the children are confident in applying. Teachers are there in these spelling sessions to facilitate not teach, guiding - not telling - the children where the links are in their spelling lists. We have also paid for every pupil at Phoenix to have an account for Spelling Shed. This is an online platform which children can access both in school and at home to embed their in-class learning.
Spelling words for each year group have been carefully and meticulously scrutinised and grouped according to their graphemes (letter combinations) following a phonics style which will build on children’s earlier success in our phonics scheme, and organised to progress in difficulty as the child moves through the school. Spellings are tested once a week in class by the class teacher or Teaching Assistant.
Phonics and Spellimg Impact
Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1.
During the Summer Term in Year 1, pupils undertake a Phonics Screening Test which assesses their ability to apply what they have learnt. Pupils who do not pass their Phonics Screening Test continue to have intervention to support the acquisition of these key skills.
Children will leave primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught. Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support spelling and contribute regularly to homework. There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non disadvantaged).