Phonics Curriculum Offer
At Abbey Gates, our goal is to ensure that all children can become successful readers, writers and spellers. We believe that reading is a key life skill and is also essential for overall academic success. We understand how complex this process is for children and are fully aware of the need to provide them with a secure foundation to develop these skills, whilst promoting a love and enjoyment of both reading and writing.
Our approach to teaching phonics is rigorous and challenging from day one. It ensures that the children’s triumphs in reading and writing are underpinned by a secure understanding of the alphabetic code. We have developed our own Systematic, Synthetic Phonics programme as a school which meets the essential core criteria set out by the Department for Education. Lessons are taught daily to children in the Early Years and Year One. The structure of the lessons is consistent and follows the Revisit and Review, Teach, Practise, Apply and Challenge lesson cycle. All staff in school receive continuous professional development to ensure consistency in delivery of phonics across year groups.
By the end of a child’s time in Foundation, they will be secure in their Phase One, Two, Three and Four phonics skills. They will be able to say a phoneme for each letter in the alphabet and read at least ten digraphs. They will blend words to read them and read aloud simple sentences and books that are consistent with their phonic knowledge, including some common exception words (tricky words). Children will also be able to apply their phonics skills to their writing and be able to write sentences which can be read by others. To do this, they will confidently segment the phonemes in words and write correctly formed and recognisable letters.
By the end of a child’s time in Year One, they will be secure in their Phase 5 phonics skills. During Year One, children will learn common alternative spelling and pronunciations for phonemes and graphemes which they are already familiar with. They will become more fluent in their reading and writing skills, begin to write in cursive handwriting and use capital letters correctly. In addition to this, the vast majority of the class will pass the Phonics Screening check in the Summer term.
By the end of Year Two, they will be embarking on their journey of becoming successful spellers by following the Jane Considine approach to spelling. During lessons, children will be part of spelling investigations which will help them to learn and understand spelling rules which they will use for life.
Phonics lessons take place daily and are delivered by staff who have received continuous professional development based on the school’s phonics programme to ensure consistency in their approach, resources used, and excellent subject knowledge.
In Foundation 1, children will take part in daily Phase 1 focused phonics lessons.
In Foundation 2, the children will consolidate their Phase 1 skills before completing Phase 2 phonics in the Autumn term, Phase 3 phonics in the Spring term and Phase 4 phonics in the Summer Term.
In Year One, the children will consolidate their Phase 4 phonics skills before completing Phase 5a phonics (alternative spellings) in the Autumn term, Phase 5b phonics (alternative pronunciations) in the Spring term and Phase 5c phonics (further alternative spellings) in the Summer term.
In Year Two, the children will consolidate their Phase 5 skills in the Autumn term before learning spelling rules, including prefixes and suffixes.
Assessments are carried out half termly using Phonics Tracker, to identify children who are at risk of falling behind. Following assessment, phonics interventions are carried out using precise gap analysis. At the end of Year One, all children are assessed using the Key Stage One Phonics Screening Check, provided by the Standards and Testing Agency.
Children are allocated books based on their phonic knowledge, in the early stages, to ensure that they can be given opportunities to read words by blending the graphemes which have already been taught. This gives them early success in reading and prevents children having to ‘guess’ words. A member of staff listens to each child read once a week and children get a new book weekly. Children who have been identified as being at risk of falling behind are listened to more than once a week.,
When children have a secure knowledge of phonics, they will take home book banded books which have been banded according to their length and content. Children in Year Two will be assessed using a fluency assessment which assesses the amount of words read correctly per minute.
At the end of a child’s time in Key Stage 1, the vast majority are fluent readers. They have a strong understanding of the alphabetic code and have the skills to tackle unknown words confidently. In 2019, 90% of children in Year One reached the required standard in the Phonics Screening check. 93% of children passed the Phonics Screen Check before the end of their time in Key Stage 1. This strong foundation enables teachers in Key Stage 2 to focus on developing fluency and prosody and comprehension. We also recognise the importance of children’s attitude towards reading and their genuine love of books. This is something which is a focus for all staff all the way through school and the wide range of reading enrichment which we proritise ensures that the vast majority of children read for pleasure and understand the magical world that books can unlock for them.
Phase 5a - How to say the phonemes
Phase 3 - How to say the phonemes
Phase 2 - How to say the phonemes
At Abbey Gates, we have developed our own Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme. The Phonics Handbook, which includes all relevant details about the programme, is below. This includes information on the sequence of progression, vocabulary, teaching strategies and resources and assessment.