ST JOSEPH S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL ENGLISH POLICY. Including Reading, Writing and Phonics

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1 ST JOSEPH S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL ENGLISH POLICY Including Reading, Writing and Phonics THE GOVERNING BODY OF ST JOSEPH S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, DEVIZES January 2016

2 Statement of Aims and Beliefs St. Joseph s School aims to be a loving community which is inspired by the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. The school affirms that all children and staff are unique and should have opportunities to achieve their full potential to learn or to teach and to experience success in a broad, varied and balanced curriculum. The school aims to value all members of the school community including staff, children, parents, carers, governors, parishioners, volunteers and visitors. Phonics St Joseph s follow the DfE Letters and Sounds Programme and re-enforce this with Jolly Phonics actions. Within KS1 classes, children are taught Phonics daily. This is through a variety of methods, such as mini-whiteboard work, using foam letters to build and read words, games and interactive whiteboard activities. Phonics is continued into KS2 for specific children, through intervention work. Phonics is the foundation for both reading and writing. Therefore, phonics will be referred to throughout this policy. How is Phonics assessed? A child s Phonics is assessed through Teacher Assessment, throughout the year. At the end of Year 1, there is a statutory Phonics Screening Check. For those children who do not pass at the end of Year 1, the assessment is repeated at the end of Year 2. Reading The 'mechanics' of reading are initially taught using the Letters and Sounds programme. This is supplemented with exploration of a range of text types and explicit teaching of reading skills during daily Literacy sessions, which continues in each year group. Pupils have one Guided Reading session per week, where reading is taught to groups differentiated by ability. In school, children read individually with their teacher, TA and adult volunteers. The frequency of this depends upon the age and individual needs of the child. This is recorded in a reading record which is kept in the child's bag and 1

3 taken home and returned to school daily. This provides a 1:1 opportunity, geared to the child's stage of development. All pupils follow the school reading scheme until they are assessed by their teacher to be competent enough to be a 'free reader' (Please see the reading bands below). This is irrespective of chronological age and we have a wide selection of scheme books for older readers. Books are banded and children have books from within a particular colour band until they are ready to move onto the next. Each band colour contains books from a range of commercial schemes, some based on developing phonic skills and others building up comprehension and genre awareness. How is Reading assessed? A child s Reading is assessed through Teacher Assessment. This is based on the records which are kept as part of Guided Reading and Individual Reading. A child s reading is assessed termly against the new curriculum statements within the SIMs assessment package. Regularly throughout the year, previous statutory and non-statutory SATs papers are used as another piece of evidence towards the teacher s assessments.. At the end of Year 6, Reading is assessed through a statutory national SATs paper. These are externally marked. Each term children are identified as Focus children, where there are areas of concern. For these children, short term interventions are put in place. This is shared during Pupil Progress Meetings with the senior leadership team. Writing Writing stems from the learning which the children actively acquire in both phonics and reading. In reading, the children are trying to 'decode' what is written and Phonics makes them familiar with the shapes and sounds of the letters. Writing is about them creating the code for other people to read. Different children approach writing in different ways. Some children love 'play writing' which is a great way of helping them train the muscles in their 2

4 hand to hold a pencil and write. Others like to perfect a letter before they attempt it in a piece of writing. At St Joseph s it is believed that the best pencil-grip position is the 'tripod grasp'. It gives power to the necessary fingers for control and allows for the pencil to be supported. At St Joseph's, writing is taught in print form when the children first arrive at school. Then, cursive (joined) script from when the child is academically and physically ready. This encourages children to write, as their writing mimics the writing of adults which is highly motivating for them. It also encourages their 'flow' of ideas. Once the script is learnt, it is faster than writing in print. The teachers refer to the different shapes of letters as; 'One Armed Robots' (b, h, k, m, n, p, r) where the action is 'up to his smiley face, down to his toes and over his arm'. 'Curly Caterpillars' (a, c, d, e, f, g, o, q, s) where the action is 'up to his smiley face and down his tail'. 'Long Ladders' (i, j, l, t, u, v, w, x, y) where the action is 'up to the top of the ladder and then down' Children all learn in different ways. Some like to practise writing letters in the sand and in ketchup tracing over a stencil, some like to see the letter and copy it and some like to have a mantra to remember how to write it. From Year 1 onwards, writing is taught daily, using a variety of different text types, mixing non-fiction and fiction texts. The teachers match their planned text types to the topic of the term so that the children can become even more engaged. The text type is broken down into lots of different pieces so that they can draw on everything they have learnt over the course of a topic, and they then 'show-off' their writing in a final piece of work. This is an independent piece of writing which is thoroughly marked by the teacher, using feedback marking (see Marking Policy). Activities are set which gives writing a purpose, which the children find highly motivating. How is Writing assessed? A child s writing is assessed through Teacher Assessment. This is based on the independent writing which children complete. A child s writing is assessed termly against the new curriculum within the SIMs assessment package. At the end of Year 6, Writing is also assessed through Teacher Assessment and several pieces of writing which are across a range of genres, are marked in-house. Each term children are identified as Focus 3

5 children, where there are areas of concern. For these children, short term interventions are put in place. This is shared during Pupil Progress Meetings with the Assistant Headteacher. SPAG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) The teaching of SPAG is embedded in all literacy lessons throughout school and takes the form of the majority of WALTs for English lessons (See Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy). It is also taught discretely each week in KS2 classes. Spelling tests are taken each week, as part of the children s homework. The spellings are taken from the recommended spelling lists (amongst other spellings are felt that the children require to make outstanding progress) for each year group. There is a national statutory SPAG test at the end of Year 6 which tests children's understanding of the English Language, grammatical terms, including a spelling test. How is English monitored? English is monitored termly by the English Subject Leader, Miss Laura Willcox. The follow monitoring methods are used: Learning Walks Lesson observations Book scrutiny Planning scrutiny Pupil conferencing/ Listening to children read In-house Moderation Moderation with local schools How staff professional development is kept up to date? The staff s professional develop is regularly updated through both in-house and external training opportunities. The teachers subject knowledge is regularly referred to as part of Learning Walks and lesson observations. Where areas of development and actions are identified, these are recorded on the English Action Plan. This Policy was reviewed in line with the Disability Discrimination Act. 4

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