The structure for teaching and delivering phonics in the partnership schools was revamped. Children in EYFS & KS1 were streamed into small groups (of 4-12) using bespoke assessment and teacher assessment, to place in smaller groups, led by TA or Teacher. All were assigned an area to teach and deliver in, with bespoke ‘long term plan’ differentiated to the groups needs.
All individual planning was re-written by myself for each individual sound. This ensured the format of revisit/review, teach, practise and apply. To support differentiation and the pace of learning of different groups, each individual sound (or blend) has 3 days worth of planning. For example, a higher ability stream may only need one day on a sound, where as a SEND group may need 3+ days of recap. Practitioners employ AFL regularly to adapt planning and delivery to their learners needs. All planning follows the order of Letters & Sounds, as suggested by Government, however, we have put our own bespoke activities, games and resources within the planning, in fitting with the aims and intent set out at the beginning.
Particular bespoke areas include the teaching of Phase 4 as ‘Best Buddy Blends’ (focusing on particular blends often seen at the start and end of words such as ‘st’ or ‘pt’) and Phase 5b as ‘Superhero Sounds’ (sounds that change their identity – for example ‘c’ and ‘i’ in ‘rice’.
Alongside the planning, bespoke resources were created for each phase of study. High quality resources aid kinaesthetic, active teaching to engage learners. These link to the plans to ensure all learners have the same quality of session. Resources build on prior learning, following phonics pedagogy (as from letters and sounds.)
A training package was put in place for staff delivering phonics. This starts from basics, on sound pronunciation and sound buttoning, then onto pedagogy of sounds and structure of a lesson. This then moves onto training on use of planning and resources, linked in to regular coaching/observation cycle within this- and then onto use of employing AFL and assessment techniques.
Underpinning the planning, resources and training, is an effective monitoring and assessment system that tracks all children at all stages of their phonics learning. Within Year R, children are assessed at regular intervals, using a format similar to the KS1 test (alien words/real words from Phase 2-4), alongside a sound tracker and HFW tracker, and regularly re-streamed and re-grouped if appropriate.
Within KS1 assessment, alongside teacher AFL, children half termly complete a mock phonics test. They are then graded ‘red/orange/green’ according to test score, and again, groups are changed if appropriate and the pitch/pace of learning adjusted to the group and child’s individual needs. Regular meetings occur with staff and leaders to talk about individual children’s progress and attainment in phonics.
Note that Y2 and KS2 children who still require phonics support complete the programme and are assessed in the same way- to measure individual progress from starting points.