Orchard Lea Federation – English



At Orchard Lea Federation, we believe that language and English is fundamental to the overall development of the child and their access to the curriculum in all its aspects. We recognise that the acquisition of English, both spoken and written, will empower our pupils and provide the foundation for all future learning. We aim to provide an English curriculum that is text rich, relevant and provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion.

When our children leave Orchard Lea Federation, they will aspire to be avid readers who have an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage.  We want all children to be able to read fluently and widely, being able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they study. We promote a culture of reading across our Federation, not simply as a life skill, but to develop a love of books and literature. This will not only support the children’s learning across the curriculum but will also enrich their lives. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their reading. Thus enabling them to be successful communicators throughout their lives. We strive for every pupil to leave us with the necessary skills to access the reading and vocabulary demands of the secondary curriculum and beyond.


We wish for all of our children to be inspired to write and see themselves as successful authors. We want our children to write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst developing their own individual flair. This is achieved by ensuring there is real purpose for writing and by providing exciting and stimulating contexts to capture their imaginations. A child at our Federation will start their writing journey by text marking and drawing simple images to encapsulate their ideas. As they progress through the schools, key skills will be weaved into our curriculum to ensure all children are successful writers. We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly using a neat handwriting style.  We aim to expose our children to a rich and wide range of vocabulary so that they are able to decipher new words and use them when speaking and writing both formally and informally. Children will work in collaboration with each other during shared writing sessions and learn the value of other’s viewpoints. In addition to this, teachers explicitly model the process of writing using shared and guided techniques, meaning children are exposed to high quality demonstration, exploration and discussion of the choices writers make.


By the time children leave us, we want them to become effective authors who write from their chosen viewpoint with their audience and purpose in mind, consistently evaluating what they have written. It is essential that our pupils see writing as a cyclical process.  We want our pupils to value editing and care about their written work, understanding that improving it is an integral part of being a writer.  We achieve this by teaching our children a range of strategies for editing so they are able to apply these strategies to improve their independent outcomes.

Orchard Lea Approach to the teaching of phonics
Phonics is taught daily to all of our children, based on the RWI approach. The children begin their day with applied phonics where our staff target specific areas for development.
Alongside this, we have daily-targeted phonics sessions; these are in small groups in which we teach a new sound and teach children to blend to read.
In addition, supported phonics is also taught in a sensory way incorporating a ‘bucket time’ approach, for our less experienced children; this is delivered throughout the week.
We use RWI suggested picture clues to reinforce initial sounds as we teach a new letter sound. In our targeted sessions, we use a wider range of visual clues that reflect our children’s experiences but add some that further aid vocabulary development. For example, hut instead of a house, lighthouse instead of a light.
Key Focus in our direct teaching sessions
There is a separate long-term plan in place that outlines the progression of teaching phonics in EYFS and Key Stage one. This plan details when, how and what will be taught in phonics and reading.
RWI assessments are carried out half-termly to track children’s phonics knowledge and ability to blend green words and read red words. We track progress, and identify any gaps in learning, re-group and plan to re-visit and fill these gaps to ensure children make accelerated progress. At the end of every discrete phonics session, all practitioners should assess whether each pupil has met the learning intention. The parameters for each phonic skill are:
Letter sound identification:
To successfully know a new letter sound, children must be able to:
– Give the sound (pure sound) when shown a single grapheme
– Identify the sound on a familiar sound mat
– Select the correct letter from a mixture of sound cards or magnetic letters
We would expect a child to be able to spot the sound on flashcards, in environmental print including displays and sound mats and in books.
To successfully blend a VC or CVC words, children must be able to:
– Say all of the sounds in the word in the correct order
– Blend the sounds into the correct word
We would expect a child to be able to read VC and CVC words during phonics games, from print around the environment and in correctly-levelled decodable books.
To be able to successfully segment a VC or CVC words, children must be able to:
– Say every sound in the word in the correct order
– Select the correct graphemes (either physically or by writing) to represent each sound in the word
We would expect a child to be able to say the sounds independently, using actions such as robot arms if needed, identify the graphemes and either make meaningful marks or informed selections from a small bank of letters.
Irregular word reading
To be able to successfully read an irregular word, children must be able to read it on sight (this may involve saying the sounds that they can see, but then self-correcting when they say the final word).
We would expect a child to be able to identify these words on flashcards, on teddy cards and in books.
Developing phonics and reading
Children will begin with a picture book and progress towards early decodable books as their phonics knowledge develops. The focus of these books is in simple CVC blending, that allow children to develop fluency through sets of sounds. Once children have been taught all of the set one sounds and they are able to blend, with confidence, within these letter groups, they will take home one of our RWI book band books. As we progress towards set two sounds, they move through our RWI book band books. Alongside these books, they will have a levelled sticker book as a ‘best fit’ to match to their age and stage. As well as a RWI book,
the children may have an additional decodable book; these books are in line with their phonics knowledge and ensure the children have a varied diet in their reading. This allows the children to continue to progress phonetically, but also develop their confidence, selfesteem and success in being a reader. Parents are given specific guidance, through workshops, videos and information sheets as to how they can support reading and phonics at home.
Developing phonics and writing
In the reception year, as the children are taught new sounds, they are given daily opportunities to practise mark making using these sounds. This enhanced in a range of ways, from giant mark making, to sand formation and smaller letter formation; it varies as the children’s fine motor control develops. We begin by encourage letter shapes were children attach their own meaning. We then progress to modelling hearing and writing initial sounds, building this up to CVC words and then simple sentences.
It is similar to our approach in the teaching of phonics and reading, we provide range of enhancements during our continuous provision that allow children to rehearse and practise the skills of writing. We have weekly opportunities for children to be taught the metacognition of writing, we develop this through the ‘Say it, think it, write it’ approach and in conjunction with RWI Fred Talk. Children are taught in weekly ‘we are writers’ sessions to develop the vocabulary and structure of writing, with engaging and relevant texts and hooks.
We have a balance of weekly guided writing into their ‘Busy Books’ and an on-going record of child initiated writing through their play. Parents are given information on early writing development and how to support at home through parent workshops, videos and information leaflets.
This process is developed in Key stage one, with a carefully planned sequence of text drivers that engage and hook children into writing. Writing is taught in daily sessions using quality text drivers, that model excellent use of story structure and vocabulary. We follow the Hampshire Learning Journey approach to the teaching of writing, building the process, whilst adhering to the National Curriculum outcomes for Key Stage one.
Children identified as not on track
We use the language of our learning powers to develop children’s understanding of how they learn and how they are more likely to become successful learners. This helps to develop their growth mind-set and willingness to have a try.
There are opportunities to practise phonics and early literacy in our continuous provision; we have an awareness of these children in our planning to ensure they are be identified as a focus.
Any children not making expected progress, and those children who we know are disadvantaged will have extra literacy practise and interventions sessions built into their week. They will have at least one extra-targeted reading time compared with their peers.
They will also have additional sessions in addition to their peers to focus on vocabulary development, story structure and shared writing opportunities. In reception, children will have next steps targeted during our continuous provision, when they are engaged in learning that
interests them through play.
Children identified with speech and communication needs (outside of referrals and speech programmes) will take part in specific intervention programmes.

Written by
Tina Bennett
Early Years Lead and English Lead

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