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Our aim is that all children will be able to read well, quickly. 


At Barrowby Church of England Primary school, we are passionate about ensuring that all pupils will become fluent readers and creative writers who can reason and articulate choices and preferences about the use of English.  Children are encouraged to embed and apply their understanding of both spoken and written language across the curriculum, through a wide range of learning opportunities that develop a love for reading and an understanding of grammatical features which can then be applied to their written work.

We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier.  Through daily, systematic and consistently high-quality phonics teaching, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. To allow our children to develop a strong phonic awareness and effective blending and decoding skills, we have chosen to use a synthetic phonics programme called Essential Letters and Sounds.  We passionately believe that teaching children to read and write independently is one of the core purposes of a primary school, thus enabling them to access a broad and exciting curriculum and ensuring they flourish as learners throughout their time at our school. These fundamental skills not only hold the keys to the rest of the curriculum but also have a huge impact on children’s self-esteem and future life chances


Phonics is delivered through daily whole - class Essential Letter and Sounds lessons.  Phonics lessons are taught in EYFS and Year 1.  Each lesson uses the same teaching sequence – show, copy, repeat, until each child is independent, regardless of the year group.  Outside of phonics lessons children should be given ample opportunities to apply the new skills that they have been taught, as part of English lessons and the wider curriculum.

It is vital that whilst children are learning to read, they read books that match their phonic knowledge.  We use decodable readers by The Oxford University Press to support Essential Letters and Sounds teaching in school.  These books are carefully matched to the ELS programme, clearly labelled and sent home on a Friday each week.

All staff have received training for each part of Essential Letters and Sounds to ensure fidelity to the scheme.  The phonics lead in school will continue to provide ongoing training and support for staff.

For pupils with SEND, it is important to focus on the pupils’ strengths as well as identifying areas where they need more help, practice and consolidation. In general, pupils should have the opportunity to develop all the concepts, regardless of their SEN or disability. However, the approach to these concepts may have to be done differently with different groups of pupils.


ELS is designed on the principle that all children should ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’.  Therefore, in many instances’ interventions are delivered within the lesson by the teacher.  If children require further support to achieve the outcomes of the lesson and keep up with the pace of the programme, ELS have three interventions that are to be delivered on a one – to – one basis. 

Assessment of the children’s reading skills is key to ensuring that all children make rapid progress in synthetic phonics.  In order to ensure fidelity to the ELS programme we use the assessment cycle as set out in the scheme, in addition to daily in – class assessments.  Phonic assessments occur in the fifth week of each half term. 

The half termly assessment enables teachers/TAs to identify any gaps in children’s developing phonic knowledge and reading skills.  The assessment represents Phase 2, up to Phase 5 graphemes and the alternative spellings for known sounds.  We do not test the children beyond what they have been taught or are capable of recalling with fluency. 

In addition to completing the half termly assessment the children will also complete the Year One Phonics Screening Check practice.  During this assessment the children will be asked to read a range of real words and pseudo words.  At the end of Year 1, all children (unless disapplied) will complete a statutory test – The Phonics Screening Test.  The results of this test are communicated to parents/carers as part of their end of year report. 

The assessment data will enable teachers/TAs to identify where there are sound and grapheme gaps, and difficulties with segmenting and blending.  This will inform future interventions and identify the children that need directed support during phonics lessons.