Jaz Ampaw-Farr Which Phonics Studio One 13 Lynott Close Crownhill Milton Keynes MK8 0DJ 15 January The Importance of Phonics catalogue

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1 Department for Education 2 nd Floor, Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street London SW1P 3BT Tel: Jaz Ampaw-Farr Which Phonics Studio One 13 Lynott Close Crownhill Milton Keynes MK8 0DJ 15 January 2013 Dear Jaz Ampaw-Farr The Importance of Phonics catalogue Following the monitoring visit by Gordon Askew to the training provided by you at Rokeby Primary School, Rugby, on 7 January 2013, I am pleased to attach his written report. This gives details of how well the training met the Department s criteria to which you had previously agreed. Mr Askew gave provisional verbal feedback at the end of the training session and the report merely reiterates the observations discussed then. The report concludes that the training observed met all of the agreed criteria. It also points out where Mr Askew felt you might further tighten coherence to one of the criteria, and we hope you will consider this. We are unlikely to want to monitor this training course again. Yours sincerely Liz Majewska Standards Division

2 Department for Education Monitoring of 959T Systematic Synthetic Phonics Training Report Date of Visit: 7 th January 2013 School Visited: Rokeby Primary School, Rugby, CV22 5PE Headteacher: Alison Stringer Training Provider: Which Phonics Lead contact: Jaz Ampaw-Farr Trainer: Jaz Ampaw-Farr Course: WP01 Course Duration: No of attendees: 150

3 How the training conforms to the DfE CORE and TRAINING criteria Criteria The training promotes high quality systematic synthetic phonic work as the prime approach to decoding print i.e. a phonics first and fast approach. The training promotes the expectation that children start learning phonic knowledge and skills using a systematic, synthetic programme by the age of five, with the expectation that they will be fluent readers having secured word recognition skills by the end of Key Stage 1. Evaluator s comments The training strongly and unequivocally promoted systematic synthetic phonics as the prime approach to be used by early readers when decoding text. Alternative reading strategies, such as wordmemorising were clearly discouraged. These expectations were made very clear in the training which continually stressed the importance of children starting systematic synthetic phonics early, progressing quickly and becoming efficient, effective and enthusiastic readers by or before the age of seven. Although the training was generic and did not recommend a particular scheme of materials, the importance of following a structured, systematic programme was strongly promoted during the training. The materials and approach promoted are designed for teaching discrete, daily sessions, progressing from simple to more complex phonic knowledge and skills and covering the major grapheme/phoneme correspondences. The training demonstrates how children s progress is assessed. A multi-sensory approach is promoted so that children learn variously from simultaneous visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activities which are designed to secure essential phonic knowledge and skills. Training demonstrates that phonemes should be blended, in order, from left to right, all through the word for reading. Effective delivery of discrete, daily sessions was exemplified and explored. Substantial additional material is provided to help plan and deliver systematic synthetic phonics through the Which Phonics website. Helpful, objective comparisons between the progressions of various programmes and materials from the Pro5/DfE catalogue were also provided. The importance of fidelity to the core sequence of a particular scheme was emphasised. Assessment was clearly and strongly addressed in the training. Regular assessment was recommended and practical models/ materials to support this were shown and discussed. The Year One Phonics Screening check was discussed in a constructive and supportive way. The approaches demonstrated in the training constantly used auditory, visual and kinaesthetic activity when introducing, revising and applying the sounds. Similarly, teaching that is interactive, lively and multi-sensory was encouraged throughout the development of systematic synthetic phonics. It was stressed that these related and reversible processes must be introduced and practised in every lesson from the very early stages. This sequence was fully explained and modelled by the trainer. Trainees were also provided with some valuable practice activities. Training demonstrates how words can be segmented into their constituent phonemes for spelling and that this is the reverse of blending phonemes to read words.

4 Training demonstrates how children should apply phonic knowledge and skills as their first approach to reading even if a word is not completely regular. The gradual and systematic introduction of high-frequency words and tricky words was appropriately covered. It was stressed that this learning of tricky words must be consistent and cumulative through the whole programme. Training promotes that children are taught high frequency words that do not conform completely to grapheme/phoneme correspondence rules. Training promotes fidelity to the teaching framework for the duration of the programme, to ensure that these irregular words are fully learnt. Training promotes that as pupils move through the early stages of acquiring phonics, they are invited to practise by reading texts which are entirely decodable for them, so that they experience success and learn to rely on phonemic strategies. Training relates directly and wholly to the use of materials which meet the phonics Core Criteria OR Training is generic; applicable to any of the programmes that meet the phonics core criteria. Trainers have relevant experience of teaching children to read. The training clearly promoted the use of decodable texts at the appropriate stages of children learning to read. An example of not-entirely-decodable text was displayed and trainees invited to consider which words children would not be able to read. Samples of decodable text were provided as a positive alternative. Through this trainees were helped to understand that children need texts that they can read using their current level of decoding skill and are not put in a position where they have to guess words. If it is possible to find a little more time in the training, it might be helpful to stress that at the same time, but separately, teachers need to share high quality real texts and talk about them to develop comprehension. Early readers should read decodable texts and have real books read to them, with, of course, extensive discussion and exploration. This training provided an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of systematic synthetic phonics that could easily be delivered through any of the programmes in the Pro5/DfE catalogue. The trainer has extensive relevant teaching experience which was shared with great effectiveness and added considerably to the impact and relevance of the training. Training takes account of the trainees existing knowledge and experience. The training opened with a helpful, contextualising discussion of what the trainees already knew and what they hoped to get out of the day. Appropriate deference was always paid to their professional status and experience.

5 Training secures teachers knowledge and understanding of: - all the basic phonemes of commonly used English words (normally accepted as around 44 in number) - all the main grapheme representations of each of these phonemes as used in written English - how phonemes should be blended, in order, from left to right, 'all through the word' for reading - How words can be segmented into their constituent phonemes for spelling and that this is the reverse of blending phonemes to read words. Teachers are equipped effectively to use the materials promoted to: - achieve each and all of the outcomes implied in the Annex A Criteria - use, adapt or supplement the materials to support children who begin to fall behind the expected learning schedule - Deliver them in an effective and engaging way Within the limits of the available time, teachers were well briefed in understanding the phonic code at their own level, as well as learning how to teach it effectively. Good modelling was provided and some practice given in identifying and enunciating the sounds correctly and in blending and segmenting. A very helpful course booklet was provided to reinforce this learning and support follow-up. Before mastery is achieved, however, trainees will need to practise further, hopefully with systems set up in the school to support this. There is every reason to think that teachers who make the necessary commitment to the training, and follow it through assiduously, supported by their schools, will be in a position to achieve the required outcomes and thus set and achieve the highest standards for their young children. General comments: This was outstanding training. It gave clear, strong messages, fully supported with the information, advice and modelling of practice needed to help teachers along the road to effective delivery of systematic synthetic phonics. All the basic principles of the core criteria were well covered and strongly promoted. It was presented with engaging good humour and all the expertise and conviction that come from substantial experience of effective practice. The training visited met all of the agreed criteria. G. Askew,

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