English and Phonics at Broomhill

At Broomhill First School, our aim is to raise the literacy achievements of our children by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. We want We to improve the life chances of our children by ensuring that every child at Broomhill has access to quality experiences of literacy and that all of our staff have the knowledge and resources to support children become confident, happy and enthusiastic communicators, readers and writers, with all the benefits this brings.  

Reading is at the heart of our curriculum.

We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.

The purpose of English in the National Curriculum is to teach pupils to write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

Our curriculum aims to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word and to develop a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. We aim to encourage each child to develop a love and appreciation of language and reading, and to acquire the necessary skills to become an effective communicator. 

At Broomhill First School, English is often taught separately but where possible it is integrated into our topic based curriculum. Through these topics, pupils will learn to read and write through a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Phonics, spelling punctuation, grammar and handwriting, as well being part of every lesson, will be taught discretely at specific times each week. A weekly school assembly has a specific focus on books and authors that children have enjoyed.

Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 (Year 1 & 2) follow a systematic synthetic phonics approach to decoding text that is taught in a highly-structured programme of daily lessons.  Children start learning the precursors to phonics in Nursery, and progress to learning phonic knowledge and skills from day 1 in Reception. Our phonics programme provides a structured route for most children to meet or exceed the expected standard in the year one Phonics Screening Check and all national curriculum expectations for words reading through decoding by the end of key stage 1.
At Broomhill, we follow one of the Department of Education’s approved systematic synthetic phonics programmes: Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS).
Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous session, be taught new skills, practise together and apply what they have learned. Daily sessions teach the main grapheme-phoneme correspondences of English in a clearly defined, incremental sequence. This enables the children to read and spell many words from early on in their schooling. There is a clear progression from simple to more complex phonics knowledge introduced to the children at the most appropriate time in their learning journey.
Children in Nursery begin with Phase 1, which provides a range of listening activities through play, in order to develop their listening skills. Progress is tracked through an ongoing teacher assessment and more formally at the end of each term.
As children enter Reception, they continue to build upon the listening activities and are introduced to Phase 2, which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught, as well as writing the letters to encode words.

Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage, just one grapheme (spelling) is given for each phoneme.

When children become secure they continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase.

Phase 5 broadens children's knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. Within this phase, some Reception children, and all Y1 children, will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know.

It is expected that children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6, which develops a variety of spelling strategies, including homophones (word specific spellings), e.g. see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary, as well as the accurate spelling of words containing unusual grapheme-phoneme correspondences, e.g. laughs, two.

The reading and spelling of high frequency and harder to read words (or tricky words) are taught continuously throughout the phases.

Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow planning for gaps and interventions and to ensure that there is sufficient challenge available for more confident learners. Our approach to phonics intervention centres around the philosophy of keep up rather than catch-up, with short, focused in the moment interventions.

The national Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. Prior to this, a Year 1 phonics workshop will be organised to give parents and carers information about how they can support their children at home with phonics. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who do not meet the required standard for the check in Y1 enter again in Y2. Additional support is put in place.

At Broomhill, we:

  • Teach children that phonics helps us to read and write.
  • Follow a specific phonics programme (Essential Letters and Sounds), which utilises a four-part lesson structure and teaching sequence (review, teach, practise, apply) that promotes independence, resilience, and success in all our learners.
  • Demonstrate full fidelity to our programme.
  • Ensure consistency of resources and approaches across the school.
  • Provide early ‘keep up rather than catch up’ interventions where needed.
  • Ensure that all phonics teaching is delivered with pace and passion.
  • Include an active element to all lessons that ensures participation for all learners.
  • Use decodable words and extracts in phonics lessons so that children can directly apply their new knowledge and phonic skills at an appropriate level.
  • Ensure that children take home books closely matched to their phonic ability.
  • Invite all parents to attend phonics, reading, and writing workshops to support their children with the development of their child’s phonics skills.