Reading & Phonics

At Westcott Primary school reading is the foundation of our bespoke curriculum and is a priority within our school. Reading for enjoyment and pleasure is at the very heart of our reading curriculum. We have high aspirations for all of our children, including the those who may struggle with reading. Our ambition is that by the end of their primary education pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence. This gives children the essential tools to access the whole curriculum, enabling them to explore, question and respond to the world around them. We aim to foster a culture of reading in which children have a deep appreciation of books and take great pleasure and enjoyment in reading.

Reception and Key Stage 1

The teaching of reading begins on entry, with our very youngest children starting on our Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme: Little Wandle. The programme overview shows the progression of GPCs and tricky words that we teach term-by-term from Reception to the end of Year 1. Progression in phonics has been organised so that children are taught from simple through to more complex GPCs, as well as taking into account the frequency of their occurrence in the most commonly encountered words. All the graphemes taught are practised in words, sentences, and later on, in fully decodable books. Children review and revise GPCs and words, daily, weekly and across terms and years in order to embed this knowledge into their long-term memory.

Children need to secure automatic decoding skills as quickly as possible, enabling them to move from learning to read, to reading to learn. Our expectations of progression are aspirational yet achievable by maintaining pace, practice and participation. Children are regularly assessed and any child not keeping-up with their peers is given additional practice immediately through keep-up sessions.

As well as continuing the highly structured programme of phonics, we also focus on fluency through taught reading sessions. We use the Collins Big Cat Phonics books (linked to Little Wandle) during these sessions. These books are fully decodable, ensuring that children only read books with GPCs they already know. Following a week of in-school taught sessions, the children take these books home as their reading practice book and will be able to read them fluently and independently. Along with their reading practice book, children will also take home a sharing book. The purpose of this book is to develop a love of and passion for reading. Adults are encouraged to share this book with their child by reading to them, asking questions and looking at the pictures.

Upon successful completion of the Little Wandle Phonics Programme, children in Year 2 are also taught a range of reading skills. We focus on developing children’s vocabulary, retrieval and inference skills, along with their ability to predict and summarise. Children continue to listen to adults read daily and access a wide range of literature.

National Phonics Screening Check

All children in Year 1 will be screened using the National Assessment materials in the summer term. If a child in Year 1 does not reach the required level, then additional support will be put in place in order for the child to make accelerated progress with their reading. They will be retested when they are in Year 2. This data will be submitted to the Local Authority.

Key Stage 2

Any children beginning Key Stage 2 who are yet to pass the Phonics Screening Check, or are not deemed sufficiently fluent, receive additional support at the start of Year 3 to help them keep up with their peers. These children will continue to take home a reading practice book monitored by the class teacher in addition to their sharing book. The school uses a bridging scheme (Big Cat Collins), which is aligned with Little Wandle. Additional interventions will continue beyond Year 3 for specific SEND pupils who need support with fluency and stamina for reading.

Throughout Key Stage 2, children are taught reading through high quality and purposefully selected texts to engage the children. We continue to develop fluency and enhance our reading skills. Children read to an adult regularly and have access to a range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, to support work across our curriculum. Children continue to have home reading books which are monitored by their class teacher.

Additional Support for Parents

‘My child has progressed very well and is always happy when leaving school and ready to start the next day.’

Parent testimonials

‘Westcott is a lovely school. I feel like my children have really progressed whilst being here.’

Parent testimonials

‘Approachability of teachers and support staff is great, I’ve never felt that I’ve been too much trouble when needing to speak to staff.’

Parent testimonials

‘The school always provides up to date information about what the children have been doing on Twitter.’

Parent testimonials

‘The choice of after school and lunchtime activities is great. The reward assemblies are also a great idea.’

Parent testimonials

‘It is a well kept school with a calm and positive environment for the children to learn in. Always looking for ways to improve.’

Parent testimonials

‘I like the Westcott Award Assemblies not just for the children’s sake but I like to come in and see them showcase their achievements. Its great to see them looking proud and happy.’

Parent testimonials

‘I like that both my children are supported and happy in school. Its great that I am able to speak with teachers and time is always made for parents.’

Parent testimonials