Reading and phonics


Reading is a fundamental part of everything we do at Bretherton. Children are exposed to high quality texts across the curriculum and reading skills are taught explicitly in all classes. Alongside the skills of decoding and comprehension, book talk encourages children to think as a reader and discuss their preferences, likes and dislikes. Reading for pleasure is a cornerstone of our approach and the high profile of reading in school is further enhanced by the reading initiatives we carry out throughout the year. Our ultimate aim for the teaching of phonics is to develop excellence in reading. 

Process in creating our curriculum

After reading the various research on systematic synthetics phonics, the school leadership team audited our current package and offer to children and the resources that we currently had. Our phonics screening data from assessments in phonics in year 1 were high and we exceeded national data for children meeting the required standards.All staff in 2919 underwent phonics CPD led by the Lancashire Literacy team as part of our cluster (TARDIS) which highlighted the high quality knowledge and understanding of staff in the teaching of phonics and early reading. What was identified was that all staff taught children phonics in small groups planned from Letters and Sounds with a wide variety of resources represented from a variety of and mix of schemes- jolly phonics for the actions in reception, other phonics resource games. This sometimes meant that despite our high scores on phonics assessments in year 1, there were some variations and quality between groups taught by teachers and other groups depending on the resources used despite being planned by the teacher. In 2021, we had a change of teacher after the retirement of our long standing EYFS and Year 1 teacher and a change of TA staff in this team and a new member of staff. Our new team would be led by our Deputy Head Teacher, who is an Early Years specialist. She built her class team, planned and delivered training and  had previously identified that we required more books for class 1 to match more carefully the teaching of phonics. 
We established our priorities to be :
- a scheme that offered a consistent approach to support the full team teach the mixed age classes of EYFS and Year 1. 
- a full scheme that provided high quality texts alongside high quality whole class teaching of phonics with intervention options
-wanted to be able to teach with good pace in thorough and systematic way 
- a consistency that could be monitored and profess of children measured from benchmarking and regular ongoing assessments into reading so not just learning for the phonics screening assessment in year 1
- a scheme that offered the high standards of children that would ensure highest of outcomes as school traditionally surpassed national average in early reading and KS2 SATs reading scores with a very high % of exceeding reported over time. 
-our youngest children like to write so we want to be able to offer elements of writing within phonics 
-plans that can be edited appropriately to meet the needs of cohorts over time 
-something manageable for workload due to extent of mixed age planning demands on staff time so greater time can be spent on delivery and progression rather than time of planning and resourcing. 
-we wanted to use the research and government information to review all schemes including those not validated eg letters and sounds and the local authority offer - red rose phonics, to ensure we had the best offer for our children coming out of a pandemic. 
- something that would engage children , parents and staff in a partnership approach as we are fortunate to have good home school relationships and parents who support school in helping their children at home. 
- within our curriculum design we have been accessing online assessments and have found it useful for focusing staff on key learning expectations and supported workload. We wanted our new scheme to fit into this profile. 
- knowing our school strengths and the needs of our children we wanted a scheme that offered a balance/ variety of multi sensory approach including actions, colour to denote different graphemes, likeable characters and interesting stories to engage and develop memory to lead to best outcomes. As an inclusive school, our curriculum intent is built on celebrating difference and childen’s uniqueness which includes different ways they may learn. To offer this variety ensures we meet the needs of all our children. 
Using the criteria above, as a leadership team and through consultation with staff, children and governors, we researched and reviewed schemes that offered our key priorities. Many met several but only a couple hit our shortlist. Looking at fulfilling our priorities and offering value for money, we trialed 3 and decided on monster phonics.
We chose monster phonics as it offered the following:
- one scheme which allowed for all children to learn together in a mastery approach 
- planning that supported all staff to be experts
- the lesson plans were aligned with research on how the lessons should be implemented
- resources aligned to the scheme including reading books. 
- planning with good pace to ensure children progress well through the learning of phonics and a scheme that matches our high expectations throughout the curriculum. 
- engaging snd captures the interest of all
- allows for a smooth progression from Class 1 to Class 2. As our children are in class with same teacher for 2 years, well planned transition along with clear, common threads are needed through school so all children, including our disadvantaged, SEND can progress learning smoothly with recognition and precious learning underpinned with the new. 
- allows for regular assessments and intervention both in current Class 1 and 2 but also to support catch up and meeting the gaps in ks2. 
- ensure parents and staff can be trained to offer consistency. 
- another accidental incentive of this scheme is the use of music and songs. We are a singing school and know our children learn well through using all our senses. This definitely represents who we are as a school. 
In order to ensure that we maintain fidelity of the scheme but not loose other benefits we had in our existing resources, we decided to retain the older reading books - that don’t align perfectly with the teaching patterns as additional books for parents to share with their child. These will be clearly labelled and in addition to the key texts being sent home to read with parents. 
Through monster phonics training courses and workshops for staff and parents, we believe that all stakeholders can offer a consistent approach for the teaching of phonics at Bretherton.
So we are now started year 1 of a 3 year commitment to monster phonics where we are driving all staff to fully understand why and how to teach phonics well and develop our KS1 and Early Years staff to become experts. We are grateful to our Governors for funding the scheme in challenging budget times. 
Our phonics development action plan will be written during the summer term as we use, apply, upskill and measure the impact of our new scheme. Reading , linked to the development of phonics through school into our book band schemes into Year 2 and above once children have met the expected standards for KS1. Our children have been traditionally above national average and we want to ensure our intent meets those high expectations.

In Reception and Key Stage 1 each child takes part in a daily phonics lesson of 20-30 minutes.  The children are taught in a mastery approach.  By the end of Reception each child is expected to have achieved Phase 3; by the end of Year 1 each child is expected to have achieved Phase 5; by the end of Year 2 each child is expected to have achieved Phase 6.  Phonics sessions are interactive and fun!  The children are taught and read books from our newly purchased phonics scheme: Monster Phonics.    Further information regarding phonics can be located by clicking on the link below. All teachers follow the phonics scheme.


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Bretherton Endowed CE

Primary School

South Road, Bretherton, Lancs PR26 9AH

Main Contact: Alison Moxham

Main Contact for SEND: Alison Moxham

Headteacher: Alison Moxham

01772 600431

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