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Phonics, Spellings and Grammar

At Loughton School we believe that phonics or spelling (depending on the point of the child's learning journey), writing and reading share a cyclical relationship. They support each other and so without a firm understanding of phonics/spelling, children may not reach their full reading and writing potential. 

We aim to give children the tools and strategies they will need to develop into confident spellers. We aim to instil a love of words by encouraging children to explore words, their origins and meanings. This will in turn feed into their writing and reading. We aim for any teaching of spelling to be robust, challenging and engaging.

Grammar is now taught specifically within our English lessons, and is often referred to as 'SpaG (spelling and grammar). 



Our spelling vision at Loughton School is for our children to develop an interest in words, their meanings and their origins. From year three to year six, children will be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary so that year on year the children are building a bank of words which they can spell independently. At the beginning of their school journey at Loughton, regular spelling investigations will enable children to learn and explore the written patterns and sounds (graphemes and phonemes) alongside daily practice of common spelling rules and the origins of everyday words. Children will link this learning to a wide range of lessons when reading words and spelling them and daily 10-minute activities will consolidate their knowledge of spelling patterns and relevant vocabulary. As they move up the school, their regular spelling practice time will focus more on collecting banks of words which show similarities, building resilience and independence.

Children will learn to use their prior knowledge of phonics from KS1 to help them spell words. They will become independent at identifying the tricky sounds within a word that makes spelling challenging. By learning about word families, children can make links between words with similar sounds.

Children have regular opportunities to show their knowledge during discussions in class. Their spelling books reflect the journey of their learning and they become more resilient when making plausible and sensible attempts at spelling words based on what they have learnt.

The school has based its spelling strategy on the spelling books by Jane Considine.



At Loughton School we are determined that every child will learn to read and become confident, fluent readers and be competent at phonically decode words. We use phonics as a tool to target the children who are at the early stages of learning to read, identified as below expectation. It is to support the SEN children as well as the early readers who need extra phonics support to enable them to be positive, fluent readers, who engage with different types of texts. 

At Loughton School, we work closely with our feeder schools to support us with the phonics gaps and specific gap of knowledge of the children. We use Rapid Reading scheme and Fresh Start as our coherent tool to teach fluency in reading and phonics. In addition to this, teachers use Read Write Inc. (RWI) to support previous learning. Our rationale for using these schemes enable us to meet the individual needs and personalise our teaching for our children. It also supports home school links by providing online e books for children to access.  The RWI supports children who are struggling with phonemes and graphemes knowledge.  We use RWI because it is a systematic synthetic phonics program, which is a DFE approved intervention. Throughout the program, children will learn the supporting alphabetic code along with different letter blends, phonemes and graphemes. This will enables children to read accurately and fluently.  

Rapid reading and Fresh start is designed to help struggling readers who are not yet fluent readers.  It provides an approach that helps readers to catch up and close the gaps, it increases children’s confidence in reading and encourages success. Rapid Reading and Fresh Start develops children’s comprehension skills, inference, prediction, retrieval and summarise. Both these schemes are designed to support fluency in reading and builds upon prior phonics knowledge .Rapid reading supports children to be more confident at reading as well as reinforcing phonemes and graphemes knowledge, which was or has been taught via RWI or from their first school.  Fresh Start is an intervention taught during guided reading time to support those children who are not able to access age related text but know their graphemes, phonemes and blends.  This is a short-term interventions to closed the gaps and eventually be able enable to access age related texts within their classroom.

In order to meet the needs of our children, we have carefully structured a progressive approach to teaching phonics. We follow the Rapid Reading scheme and this provides a coherent, progressive structure for the children. Teachers recap previous learnt sounds and blends and then move onto new sounds and blends.  Within these sessions teachers use modelling and scaffolding skills with the children to support them with writing and reading independently.  Activities such as hold a sentence work, enables children to remember their grammatical skills, capital letters, full stops and handwriting practise. 

Within these lessons, children have opportunities for shared class reading and group reading. Carefully selected reading books are given to the children, these are carefully matched to the grapheme-phoneme correspondence to the lessons the children have been taught. Children read to peers or in small groups. This allows the teacher to monitor their reading progress and whether they are applying taught phones and graphemes.

Though end of unit and termly assessments, we monitor the progress of the children so we know what the children have learnt and what needs to be learnt.  Rapid reading assessments are used alongside some RWI assessment sheets and NFR reading papers.  We then analyse this data and combine this information to make a teacher judgement of the next steps.  It is important to stress that we are constantly assessing the children during the sessions and groups are fluid to allow movement whenever it is needed depending on the needs of the children.