At Compass Point Primary School we follow the national curriculum for English. Units are planned with a high quality book as a stimulus, which links directly to the topic that each class is studying. There is a focus placed on writing for real purposes and the children are given opportunities to present their writing outside of school e.g. writing letters to local MPs.
We look for opportunities to enable all children to understand the links between being a confident speaker, reader and writer. The children then build upon this knowledge to become increasingly proficient in English. We encourage children to retell familiar stories as well as creating their own. Each English lesson is a clear progression from the last and children thrive on understanding their learning within a sequence of activities, tasks and experiences. As children move through the school they experience writing in a range of different genres and increase their stamina for writing.
For further information please follow the national curriculum link below. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study
Children who are new to writing are encouraged to develop correct posture, pencil grip, pencil control, as well as core strength and fine motor skills.
At Compass Point we teach handwriting through our phonics programme. As children learn new phonemes and graphemes they are encouraged to develop accurate letter formation using the resources provided. Unlocking Letters and Sounds is a daily phonics lesson and therefore children have regular opportunities to learn and refine their letter formation.
We use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.
In Nursery the children learn how to explore and experiment with sounds and words. They are taught to distinguish between different sounds in the environment. They also learn to orally blend and segment simple sounds. This phase continues throughout the whole of the phonics teaching programme. Nursery children are immersed in a high quality, literate environment. Children are provided with meaningful opportunities to learn about the written word and to understand that symbols carry meaning. Within the nursery class children are read texts, they are also encouraged to mark make. The development of children’s physical development is essential as reading and writing relies on the use of complex fine and gross motor skills.
We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.
In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the National Phonics Screening Check.
In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps. For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression.
To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.
In Key Stage 2 (years 3-6) children progress on to spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons. These are taught at regular intervals each week. We use the 'No Nonsense Spelling' scheme to further support the teaching of core national curriculum objectives. Each year group has a set of key spellings that they need to learn as well as looking at a range of spelling patterns to support their independent work.
Further information and an overview can be found by clicking here.
At Compass Point Primary School we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. n these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. Children at Compass Point Primary are taught to read using the phonics scheme as detailed above. They progress through reading levels until they become free readers. Children are heard to read every week in school by a range of adults and feedback is shared with parents and carers. There are a wide range of high quality texts that children are able to choose from in school, and our library is well stocked with a huge range of fiction and non-fiction books.
We understand how being a confident reader can support a child to become a confident learner and therefore we place a big emphasis on teaching key reading skills and helping children to read for pleasure.
The following websites are useful to support your child further with their English lessons.
Phonics and spelling:
Mr Thorne Does Phonics
Please click here to see how you can support your child at home with their reading.