Writing is a life skill and, throughout their journey at Abbots Green Academy, we believe that every child should have the opportunity and support to become fluent, confident and skilled communicators, irrespective of their context or starting point. We are passionate about facilitating a purposeful and engaging writing curriculum so that there is a sense of achievement right from the foundation stage through to equipping our pupils with the essentials skills to use the written word confidently and eloquently by the time they leave primary school. Writing underpins our whole curriculum; therefore we nurture opportunities to expose them to a rich and diverse range of experiences to challenge, deepen and apply their English skills and knowledge throughout the curriculum. Expert subject knowledge is carefully woven into each writing module which gives teachers the opportunity to teach and rehearse key knowledge and skills before applying this learning to meaningful extended outcomes. The careful architecture of this curriculum ensures that pupils build on prior learning and maximise purposeful curriculum connections to become writers for life.
Handwriting is taught using the programme Teach handwriting. Pupils learn pre-cursive handwriting in Year 1 moving to cursive handwriting in Year 2. In Key Stage 2, pupils continue to develop their speed, fluency and presentation of handwriting.
We believe that our reading curriculum should be a pathway to greater understanding of different cultures, world history and current issues. Through accessing a wide range of high-quality texts and building upon a strong foundation of phonics and vocabulary teaching, our reading curriculum is deliberately designed to be ambitious and aspirational, ensuring that every child leaves our school as a competent, confident reader. Drawing on the latest research around explicit vocabulary instruction, reading fluency and key comprehension strategies, this curriculum is a blend of what we know works in helping children to make outstanding progress in reading.
Pupils enjoy a daily diet of excellent reading teaching and this is supplemented by regular opportunities to engage with shared reading experiences, promoting the joy of reading across the whole school community. The clear structure and principles ensure that teaching is progressive, challenging and engaging and this is underpinned by our rich, diverse literature spine.
At Abbots Green we understand that systematic, synthetic phonics is the most effective way of teaching young children to read, developing the skills they need to tackle reading new words.
We follow the DfES Letters and Sounds programme to ensure consistency across the school as well as Jolly Phonic songs for mnemonics. In our Evergreen Nursery, in the Maple Room children focus on Phase 1 which concentrates on developing children’s speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2 in the Oak Room and continues into Reception. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills, prior to GPC.
In Reception, children are introduced to Phase 2 and 3 where they will develop GPC and segmenting and blending skills to decode words. During the summer term, children then move on to Phase 4.
In Key Stage 1, children move though Phases 4-6 ensuring that they master the alternative GPCs, can confidently decode more complex words, develop their fluency and can apply rules for spelling.
Phonics is taught in daily discrete lessons and we have a shared approach across Reception and KS1 in the teaching of phonics. We firmly believe that for Phonics to be most effective, it must be embedded across all areas of the curriculum and strive to make links wherever possible. We are committed to ensuring that all children become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. At the end of Year 1, children undertake a national phonics check. For more information about phonics please visit: https://www.readwithphonics.com/parents-phonics-guide
We offer parent information sessions throughout the year.