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Phonics and Spelling

From the moment they begin school (and probably before at Nursery) children are learning letters and sounds through synthetic phonics.  This is the nationally approved method of teaching children to read and spell.  The school does not use a specific scheme.
It focuses on splitting words into the smallest units of sounds they are built from (phonemes), hearing and saying these sounds clearly and then putting the back together to form words.
After children have got the hang of the different phonemes in our language (there are 44 of them), they then move onto looking at the different ways these are spelt.  For example, “weigh”, “a”, “bay”, “laid” all include the same phoneme but different letters are used to spell it in each case.
Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are all taught Phonics every day.  From Year 3 and up, children may still have sessions on Phonics if they are not yet confident with all of the sounds.

Phonics then moves into spelling.  We teach children general rules that work in English (for example, rules for changing the tense of verbs like play into playing).  We also have to teach them that rules in English do not always hold true – there is no substitute except learning by heart the tricky words that break the rules.
From Year 3 up, we will publish a spelling rule in the school newsletter each week.  This will be a rule that they have been learning about in spelling sessions in school.
Helping your child with their spellings is very important.  Do “little and often”.  Encourage children to consider the rule being learnt rather than particular spellings associated with it (e.g. learning to add "-ing" to verbs to make them present tense instead of learning how to spell "playing").

Keeping up the with Kids

One of our regular parent workshops is about supporting the teaching of phonics at home.  Keep an eye out for it but, in the mean-time, the resources used at the workshops are available to look at below.