Each year group follows the National Curriculum programmes of study.
We see English as not just a stand-alone subject, but part of every subject and the school's curriculum. We want our children to write for a meaningful purpose and, where possible, through first hand experiences and visits. We make use of high-quality texts to inspire our children to write - picking texts that are both challenging for the children, engaging and offer good models for their own work.
Teachers review the work developed by children and identify how they can improve and enhance their writing. Independence is also developed, with the children reviewing their own writing, re-editing and developing final drafts.
When our children leave Birdwell, we want them to be readers. We want them to see value in reading for pleasure, reading for knowledge and reading for necessity. We want them to seek out non-fiction texts to answer their curiosity about their world, poetry to enjoy and speak to them, as well as enjoy a rich diet of high-quality fiction texts. We believe that the power of reading is invaluable for our children and strive to ensure that they leave us being confident and passionate readers.
At Birdwell, we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. We begin teaching phonics in 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, our children 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.
Parent workshops are held in both EYFS and Year One to inform and support parents and carers with our phonics programme. We are lucky to have a well-stocked library where children can access a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. Each classroom has access to a set of 'recommended reads' and there are many opportunities across the day for children to read.
It is fundamental for us to celebrate our love of reading at Birdwell and we do this in as many different ways as we can. Every year, we do this through 'Extreme Reading Challenges', our '6 Book Challenges' and the annual World Book Day in March!
All children are encouraged to select books from the classroom, library or home to share with their parents to encourage a love of reading. We ask for our children to read at least 5 times per week from home, and to record this in their Reading Records.