The curriculums that we follow are:
Foundation Stage: Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework. (Literacy, Communication & language)
Key Stage 1: National Curriculum 2014
Subject Team Leader: Tracey Rae
Phonics Lead - Amna Tahira
Reading Lead - Tracey Rae
Writing lead - Megan Kilby
At Blossomfield, we believe that everyone should be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas with confidence. Staff aim to provide our children with the knowledge and skills they need to communicate orally and through the written word. We believe it is vitally important that every child foster a love of books, so that they may become fluent and competent readers for pleasure and for information. Children are given opportunities to apply their knowledge to enrich other areas of their learning.
Speaking and listening
Throughout school, children are taught to speak confidently, fluently and audibly. They are expected to participate in discussions asking questions of each other and providing answers in extended sentences. This is modelled to them by staff, and children who find this difficult are sensitively supported to share their views and know that they have a right for their voice to be heard. Teachers plan a wide range of activities which promote oracy, such as drama, role play and storytelling.
English as an Additional Language (EAL)
At Blossomfield there is a collective responsibility to identify and remove barriers that may stand in the way of our children’s achievement and inclusion; this includes children who have English as an Additional Language. We work together to support children to access the curriculum and achieve their full potential, by celebrating the variety of languages spoken through planned events and displays.
Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is our chosen phonics programme. The aim of ELS is 'Getting all children to read well, quickly'. It teaches children to read by identifying the phonemes (the smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the written version of the sound) within words and using these to read words.
Children begin learning phonics at the very beginning of Nursery and it is explicity taught every day during a dedicated slot on the timetable. Children are given the knowledge and the skills to then apply this independently.
Throughout the day, children will use their growing phonics knowledge to support them in other areas of the curriculum and will have many opportunities to practise their reading. This may include reading 1:1 with a member of staff, reading in a small group, with a partner during paired reading and as a class.
Children continue daily Phonics lessons in Year 1 and further through the school to ensure all children become confident, fluent readers.
We follow the ELS progression and sequence. This allows our children to practise their existing phonic knowledge whilst building their understanding of the ‘code’ of our language GPCs (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence). As a result, our children can tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover.
Children experience the joy of books and language whilst rapidly acquiring the skills they need to become fluent independent readers and writers. ELS teaches relevant, useful and ambitious vocabulary to support each child’s journey to becoming fluent and independent readers.
We begin by teaching the single letter sounds before moving to digraphs ‘sh’ (two letters spelling one sound), trigraphs ‘igh’ (three letters spelling one sound) and quadgraphs ‘eigh’ (four letters spelling one sound).
We teach children to:
• Decode (read) by identifying each sound within a word and blending them together to read fluently
• Encode (write) by segmenting each sound to write words accurately.
The structure of ELS lessons allows children to know what is coming next, what they need to do, and how to achieve success. This makes it easier for children to learn the GPCs we are teaching (the alphabetic code) and how to apply this when reading.
ELS is designed on the principle that children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’. Since interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher, any child who is struggling with the new knowledge can be immediately targeted with appropriate support. Where further support is required, 1:1 interventions are used where needed. These interventions are short, specific and effective.
We expect everyone, including the adults in school, to read every day. Every classroom has a reading area, which is used to encourage children to foster a love of stories and non-fiction texts. Children are expected to discuss books that they read and share with their peers what they like or dislike about a book. We aim to use stories every day across the curriculum, both for pleasure and for stimulus and discussion. There is at least one story time session timetabled every day, where children can absorb themselves in a book, which is read to them. In each classroom, children vote for the book they would like to be read to them at the book voting station. These books are usually linked to the current topic. Our children learn to read books which are matched directly to their phonic ability. We have a wide range of reading books which are fully decodable, which children read both in school and at home. There are also reading books linked to our phonics scheme on the Oxford Owl website and these can be assigned by teachers for children to read at home. All of these books mean the children have access to a range of stories, characters, vocabulary, print, layout, styles and genre. Additionally we have a large bank of fiction and non-fiction books for children to choose from in our classrooms and library. Children read and discuss these books in guided groups in school and also take them home to share. All children have a reading diary in which teachers, parents and the children can record 'reading messages' . Our school library is central to our reading ethos and it is regularly visited and enjoyed by the children and the teachers in school.
From the very earliest stages, children at Blossomfield are encouraged to become confident, creative and independent writers. A range of high quality texts are used from differing genres, to enable children to write to suit their audience and purpose of a task. Children are expected to apply their writing skills across the wider curriculum. Termly samples of the children's writing are kept in a special writing book from Nursery and continue throughout the school to provide a detailed record of progress, which can be reflected on by the children with their teachers regularly. This writing record goes home to parents each term for them to peruse with their child and provide an encouraging comment that they can read to their child. Staff model correct letter formation at every opportunity and children are encouraged to use the correct formation in all of their handwriting. Handwriting is taught as a separate lesson and linked to the phonics teaching.