We believe that reading is an important life skill, and making our children successful and confident readers is a high priority for us. To make this happen, we have:
- an excellent phonics programme
- a cohesive reading scheme which runs throughout the school
- regular guided reading sessions
- a Reading Buddies scheme
- a wide range of books for school and home reading, which are regularly updated
- decoding and comprehension skills taught in English lessons
- fantastic reading displays around the school
- book fairs which promote a joy of reading
- a link with our local library who promote a summer reading challenge
- daily and termly home reading monitoring.
In Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, we use a reading scheme called Bug Club. Bug Club supports children with their phonics and reading skills both in school and at home. As well as having hard copies of the books, children can also access different books and a wide range of interactive learning resources online. In Key Stage 2, we continue to follow a colour banded reading scheme which ensures that children read books that support and develop their reading ability. Once children have achieved the national reading expected level for Key Stage 2, children become ‘free-readers’ which means they can join our 100 Books Challenges and select more sophisticated high-quality texts.
Over the course of the year, every child will read individually with their teacher and regularly during reading lessons. During these sessions, children are not only required to read but also to demonstrate an understanding of the text. This provides an assessment opportunity for the teacher to identify strengths and next steps for learning. The wide range of texts covered in these sessions provide an appropriate challenge in order to ensure the children progress with their reading.
The main aim of the Reading Buddies programme is simple – to help and encourage children to read. Through training and support, we ensure that our reading buddies, who are volunteers, are confident to support children with their reading and comprehension skills. Each reading buddy works with one year group for the duration of the year, and is a valued member of the school community.
The aims for pupils are:
- To show that reading can be an enjoyable and fun experience they can use throughout life.
- To help them develop their literacy, spoken English and personal skills.
- To help succeed in all subjects.
The aims for our volunteers (Reading Buddies) are:
- Personal rewards are fantastic; a child’s smile when they learn a new word can be heart-warming.
- Any new skills learnt can be taken home to be used with their own children or grandchildren.
Children are encouraged to start writing in reception, using a cursive handwriting form to join their letters. Across the school, children are encouraged to write in different genres for a range of purposes and audiences. We constantly support and encourage the children to develop their vocabulary, spelling, grammar and sentence structure.
Phonics and spellings
All pupils learn phonics through the Letters and Sounds programme. It is split into six phases, beginning in Reception and continuing through to Year 2 or 3. Each phase is designed to support children with reading and writing. Children progress through these phases at a pace that suits them. Spoken English has 44 sounds (phonemes) and these phonemes are represented by letters (graphemes). A sound can be represented by one letter (eg. ‘s’) or a group of letters (eg. ‘th’ or ‘igh’). In each phase, children learn set letters and sounds as well as high frequency (common) words. Some of these are decodable once letter sounds have been taught (eg. ‘in’) but some of them are more tricky and need to be learned by heart (eg. ‘was’). Children are taught to blend (merge sounds together to make a word) and segment (split words up into their sounds). They also read some nonsense words in order to enhance the skill of blending. In Key Stage 2, we follow the National Curriculum for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling, which continues to develop the children’s spelling and phonics skills.
Speaking and Listening
Across the school we develop the children’s speaking and listening abilities as we believe this significantly complements their reading and writing skills. We teach the children: turn taking, respecting the views of the others, poetry recitation, formal presentations and debating skills, as well as acting. There are many opportunities for children to take part in productions including assemblies, events for special occasions such as Christmas, and end of year celebrations.
Mathematics lessons take place every day as we believe it is an important element of curriculum and essential to everyday life. We place a strong emphasis on number and calculation (both written and mental), as well as geometry, algebra, measure and statistics. We also believe that Mathematics should be practical and make links to real-life situations whenever possible. Problem-solving and reasoning are also critical parts of mathematical development, as this give pupils the opportunity to apply their mathematical skills and knowledge.
Our science curriculum covers a wide variety of topics which fall under the three main disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. The biological thread of plants, animals and humans runs across all year groups; building and developing children’s understanding as they move through the school. This begins with identification of animals and their habitats, and progresses to food chains, life cycles and environmental impacts upon the natural world. Children are also taught in detail about the human body, its processes and how it functions. The chemistry and physics units, which cover a broad spectrum of topics including space, forces, states of matter, light and electricity amongst others, are taught within specific year groups, and serve to broaden pupil’s scientific knowledge base as they progress through the school.
We believe that children should develop their scientific knowledge and understanding through enquiry and investigation. We strive to promote a scientific curiosity, encouraging pupils to question the world around them and seek answers through observations and data gathering. Wherever possible we endeavour to provide a practical and hands-on approach to lessons, allowing children to experience the sciences that surround them in an engaging and tangible way.