Speaking and listening
We give a high priority to speaking and listening from Nursery onwards. Every class includes a termly drama experience in their English curriculum and we use video and sound recording to help develop speaking and listening skills.
Phonics is taught in half hourly sessions from Monday to Friday in Reception and Key Stage 1. Each child's phonics knowledge is assessed every term. Children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are taught in 9 mixed groups so that we ensure that teaching is matched to their stage of learning for this important skill. Our teaching is based on the Letters and Sounds scheme and incorporates resources from various companies.
Home reading books are changed as frequently as is needed by each child. We have a number of different schemes grouped into colour bands. This ensures that children can be given the breadth of reading experience they need and reduces the risk of children competing to see who is furthest on in a scheme rather than expanding their vocabulary and fluency at a pace that is appropriate for them. Teachers will work with individual readers until they reach a stage where group reading is possible. Reading the same book in a group encourages children to discuss the book and begin developing comprehension skills. It also means that teacher time is used most effectively to teach reading and comprehension skills rather than just listen to children reading.
Children begin to learn how to control a pencil in our Nursery class and will begin to form letters as soon as they are ready. In Reception, they write a little every day and are given lots of opportunities to practise their writing for various purposes. We send lists of spellings home for the children to learn before the end of Reception. We put a lot of thought into our planning so that children learn to write in a wide variety of genres and make use of a number of stimuli. Many of their writing experiences will be based around a class novel and our extensive use of ICT also motivates children to extend their writing and to improve their work.