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St Peter's Catholic Primary School

“Christ at the Centre”

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“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” – Victor Hugo


Phonics and reading sit at the centre of our curriculum at St Peter's. We prioritise teaching all pupils to read and aim to foster a love of books and reading in all children.  We are ambitious for all children in the school and challenge all to achieve. Our Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme is organised in a sequence that develops progressively – deepening pupils’ understanding and skill levels within reading and writing, while ensuring that phonemes and graphemes become embedded in the long-term memory.


In EYFS and KS1, we teach children to use their phonics skills as the strategy to use when they are reading (never guessing what the word says from the picture or the initial sound). We follow the synthetic phonics framework ‘Letters and Sounds’, which we have supplemented with bespoke resources and training from a local English Hub school. The structure of each phonics lesson is the same and within that, children are taught the skills to decode and encode through various activities focused on blending and segmenting.




Focused phonics sessions in Reception and Key Stage 1 take place daily.  In these sessions, children develop a knowledge of phonemes and graphemes alongside developing the skills of segmenting and blending words. Children are grouped according to their phonic knowledge with teachers tracking children's progress as they move through the progression of sounds. Lessons are 30 minutes every day and split into several sections: review (5 mins), teach (5 mins), practise (5 mins), apply (10 mins) and higgledy-piggledy (5 mins). The same sounds are taught every day each week. The common exception words are taught in daily 10-minute sessions.


Decodable Books


Our fully decodable reading scheme books (Big Cat Phonics for Letters and Sounds and Rising Stars Rocket Phonics and Bug Club) are matched to the progression of the ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children are allocated home reading books by the class teacher so that the books are matched to their phonics knowledge. During the ‘apply’ section of daily phonics lessons, children may also use the decodable books for paired reading. Decodable books are also read in the group reading sessions with the class teacher (guided reading).


Children who finish Key Stage 1 and need further consolidation of their phonics learning will continue to have small group phonics input in Key Stage 2 led by experienced teaching staff. Children have reading books closely aligned to their phonic knowledge and are chosen by the children from a selection given to them by their teacher.




In addition to the ongoing assessment within the lessons, children are assessed on reading and spelling every half-term and the sounds and common exception words for the next half- term are chosen based on these assessments. As a result of the assessments, children may move groups.


Across the school, careful interventions are planned to support children who are making the slowest progress.  These take the form of additional 1:1 reading with an adult, precision teaching sessions and small group phonics work.


Vocabulary Development and Developing a Love of Reading


In addition to phonics teaching, quality texts are also read to the children to develop a love of reading and improve vocabulary. These texts are chosen by the class teachers often from the Hampshire Text Driver document and are selected for a range of purposes. All children have access to the well-stocked school library, and each class has a welcoming book area with a selection of engaging texts for children to enjoy in free reading times.




All teaching staff have undertaken phonics training, delivered by the English Hub. Annual parent phonics workshops are also offered to enable children to be supported at home.