At St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School we have a 'Phonics First' approach. From the start of the Reception year children take part in structured daily synthetic phonics lessons so that they can rapidly master the phonic code. We expect that all children will learn to read and write and phonics plays an integral part of this process. Our Phonics curriculum aims to motivate and inspire children through a curriculum that engages and challenges all learners. Our curriculum is designed to deepen knowledge and develop skills, with literacy at the heart, ensuring effective progression to become confident, fluent readers with secure understanding and comprehension skills.
At St. Patrick's Catholic Primary School we teach phonics using Pearson Bug Club Phonics, which is a DfE validated complete systematic synthetic phonics programme. All children take part in a discrete daily lesson which is effectively delivered to whole classes by class teachers in Reception and Key Stage 1. Daily whole class phonics lessons in these year groups follow a consistent teaching sequence, which includes review, teach, practise, apply and review. To enable children to ‘keep up’ rather than require ‘catch up’, interventions are delivered to targeted children within phonics lessons and outside of lessons, by class teachers and our trained support staff. Half termly assessments are undertaken to identify gaps and monitor progress in Early Years, Key Stage 1 and where appropriate to meet needs, Key Stage 2.
We use sequential and progressive decodable books to secure fluency and confidence in early reading. In Reception, children are allocated two decodable e-books each week. These are practised in school on a daily basis to help build fluency and children can access these books at home with their own personal login details. In addition, as part of our drive to encourage reading for pleasure, children are also invited to take a class library book home to share with their parents and carers. In Year One children are allocated one decodable e-book and two decodable home reading books which are closely linked to the phonics phase. Once children are secure in phonics, they are provided with a home reading book linked to their book-band reading stage.
Phase 2 starts as the children enter Reception. The purpose of this phase is to teach 19 letters and move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmentation with letters.
Phase 3 introduces a further 25 graphemes most of them comprising of two letters (e.g. oa) and some comprising of three letters (e.g. igh). This should enable children to represent 42 phonemes (sound) by a grapheme (letter).
Phase 4 is a consolidation phase, where children are introduced to longer words containing the 42 sounds already known.
Phase 5 is taught throughout Year 1 and broadens their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They also learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations of these and some alternative pronunciations for graphemes they already know.
Phase 6 is taught throughout Year 2 where children consolidate knowledge of grapheme/phoneme correspondence. This enables them to read hundreds of words through three approaches, reading words by sight (known words), decoding words quickly and quietly and sounding words out loud in order to blend.
Teachers ensure that their teaching develops pupils’ oral vocabulary as well as their ability to understand and use a variety of grammatical structures, giving particular support to pupils whose oral language skills are insufficiently developed. Phonics is delivered through highly effective ‘quality first teaching’. Teachers continually assess learning in each lesson to ensure that children are progressing through the phases.
Our phonics curriculum enables children to become confident, fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers. In Year 1, children will take a statutory Phonics Screening Test to assess their phonic knowledge. This takes place in school during the month of June. Children who do not achieve the required standard in the test may need to be assessed again during Year 2.