Systematic synthetic phonics instruction and intervention
At The Heights Burnley, pupils work hard in learning to read. Across key stage 1 to 4 pupils are given the opportunity to learn and revisit phonics appropriate to their knowledge and reading ability.
Key Stage 1
Throughout our key stage 1 curriculum, daily phonics instruction takes place. We follow the Read, Write Inc. programme that is widely used in many of our commissioning schools. The highly structured, scripted and routine programme helps to build the consistent and systematic approach in which children learning to read thrive. Pupils are assessed on entry and are taught the appropriate phase or ‘set’ of sounds. Pupils are encouraged to practice reading at home with flash cards of ‘green’ and ‘red’ words based on newly learned sounds. Pupils also take home reading books linked to their reading ability, which has been practiced in lessons. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in reading with their children. Pupil progress is continually tracked and teaching is adapted to meet the needs of each individual learner.
Key Stage 2
At key stage 2, all pupils complete baseline reading assessments (STAR reading assessment and the Diagnostic Reading Analysis assessment) where we are able to identify any potential gaps in knowledge and reading ability. Those pupils identified as having gaps in phonetical knowledge will access phonics interventions. Lower key stage 2 pupils will follow the Read, Write Inc. programme and upper key stage 2 will access the Fresh Start phonics programme. The Fresh Start phonics programme targets year 5 and year 6 pupils who require phonics intervention. It is from the same company as the Read, Write Inc. programme and the principles of highly structured, systematic and consistent routines help to ensure rapid progress is made. Pupils complete a phonics knowledge assessment and are placed on the appropriate phase. Pupils who access the Fresh Start phonics intervention are encouraged to take home Fresh Start reading books based on their interests and reading ability. Parents are encouraged to support their children and read along with them, further consolidating progress made in school.
All primary teaching staff have had training in either Read, Write Inc. or Fresh Start. Staff continue to develop their teaching practice with group coaching sessions.
Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4
Through key stage 3 and key stage 4, all pupils are assessed on induction to the school using the STAR reading assessment. Those pupils who are identified as potentially requiring reading intervention are also required to complete the Diagnostic Reading Analysis assessment. Through the Diagnostic Reading Analysis assessment, intervention leaders are able to identify those secondary aged pupils who continue to require additional support with phonics knowledge. Both key stage 3 and key stage 4 pupils, who need phonics intervention, access the Abigail Steel phonics programme. The Abigail Steel phonics programme is aimed at secondary aged pupils. It differs from Read, Write Inc. and Fresh Start in that it is more age appropriate for older pupils, and is designed to be quick for pupils to complete. Pupils complete an initial assessment to find an appropriate starting point for their phonics intervention. Pupils are encouraged to complete phonics interventions daily and practice reading within their reading ability using the Accelerated Reader programme.