Intent: why do we teach what we teach?
At St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling all our pupils to become lifelong readers. The teaching of systematic synthetic phonics is a high priority throughout our Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of Year 1. We also value and encourage our pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.
Implementation: how do we teach what we teach?
Phonics is taught daily to all children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1. Extra support lessons are provided to those pupils beyond KS1 who are working below their age expectations.
All staff are trained and supported regularly through internal and external training. Staff use daily planning designed specifically to support the children at St Joseph’s; this planning uses Letters and Sounds as a handbook to support grapheme phoneme progression and correspondence. Each phonics lesson is organised using the principles of: revision of previously learned graphemes, teaching new graphemes, practising in order to read and spell new words, application of new graphemes through activities to secure knowledge and assessing in order to monitor progress between lessons.
In order to ensure clear progression, all lessons are organised into phases beginning with Phase 1 in Nursery exploring sounds around them, rhyme and initial sounds. During Reception, children learn single letter sounds in Phase 2 to blend and spell VC and CVC words. They continue their phonics journey exploring digraphs and trigraphs in Phase 3 and complete reception by beginning Phase 4 where they combine their phonics knowledge with additional consonant blends. During Year 1 children revise and complete Phase 4 before moving onto alternate spellings and sounds during Phase 5. Our phonics program is finally complete with the final stages of irregular spellings, suffixes and prefixes during Phase 6 in Year 2. Children are assessed at the end of each phase to ensure that the children have met the end of phase expectations. Children who have not successfully completed a phase have continued support in smaller groups or 1:1 interventions.
All children’s books are matched to the phase and phoneme the children are working on. In order to support the children’s fluency, they have daily 1:1 reading throughout Reception and into Year 1 and continue regular reading as they progress through each of the phases.
Impact: how do we know what pupils have learnt and how well they have learnt it?
As a result of our high quality phonics provision, children make good progress from their starting points. The vast majority are ready for the next stage in their education as they transfer through Early Years, Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2. Many children accelerate progress during these years from baseline below ARE to meeting expectations in phonics, reading and writing.
Following advice and support from an Ofsted inspection in January 2020 and a phonics review from the Oxfordshire County Council, phonics outcomes at the end of Year 1 have been at least in line with national averages. Reading and writing outcomes at the end of EYFS have exceeded the national average and the children are taught in a consistent and systematic approach.
We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments and can be seen in success across the curriculum as children progress through the school.
Phonics phases planning overview
In response to DfE expectations with regards to Phonics, please see the document below to see what changes have been put into place to support children's learning.
Please explore our resources below. There is a range of sound mats, friezes and our handwriting patter which is used to support our children throughout their phonics journey at St Joseph's.