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Rendlesham Primary School

Reading & Phonics

As a school our phonic results have always been in line with national standard, in 2019 we achieved an 88% pass rate and in 2018 an 84% pass rate. Our methods of teaching either by whole class or by streaming into ability groups had always worked well, but due to the impact of Covid 19 and the loss of learning time in the classrooms, this has led us to research new methods to teach phonics. The government also updating guidance on using a validated phonics
scheme and some early indications from tracking post lock down, has prompted the staff to research new methods to enable us to narrow the gap in lost learning time.
Covid 19 has given teachers time to read and research and idea from the following link: The Extraordinary Case of Mr Yamazaki
Although a work of fiction, the ‘what if?’ and ‘could we do this?’ questions were a hot topic of conversation and we decided to trial something similar at Rendlesham for our phonics teaching. In the summer term 2021, all Key Stage 2 teaching and support staff observed Key Stage 1 staff teach phonics on a two week rota. One week was to observe and familiarise themselves with the phonemes from a phase and the second week teaching the group supported by the staff of Key Stage 1. Staff then swapped groups so, by the end of the term all Key Stage 2 staff had observed and taught across phonic phases 2-6.
Autumn Term 2021, we now have the capacity to run 16 small focussed groups as we have teachers and teaching assistants trained and upskilled in phonics. The phonics lead organises the children into groups based on the latest assessments and tracking. Some groups are on a 1:1 basis for children with SEND and range to the largest group with a ratio of 1:8. Planning is completed and resourced by the Key Stage 1 class teachers, currently we are basing
our planning on Letters and Sounds (which is not validated) however, the phonics lead is part of a working party with the Trust to discuss and trial validated programmes or to write one ourselves. The adult leading the phonics group liaises with the class teachers and discusses progress, it is the Key Stage 1 staff who complete any assessments. The phonic groups are fluid and children can move group if more of a challenge or a recap is needed. This redesigned model of teaching phonics has the benefit of targeting individual children from Key Stage 1 and those from Key Stage 2 who need more support, involves the whole school staff and is upskilling Key Stage 2 staff so they can use phonics with children in their own classes.
The impact of this method of teaching will not truly be known until the phonic assessments later on in the year or when assessments and tracking has been completed. However, following the guidance from the government we have been successful in training all staff at Rendlesham to confidently use and teach phonics.