We will, as our pupils are growing and learning with us, care for, support and safeguard them whilst striving to encourage them to be responsible citizens and do the same for each other and their wider community.
We will strive to ignite our pupils’ desire and enthusiasm to learn without limits.
We will aim to encourage our pupils and school community to develop academically and socially which will develop their desire to explore the wider world, skilled and equipped to find out even more.
Our approach to Phonics
At Parkroyal we deliver phonics by following the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme.
Teachers provide daily speaking and listening activities that are well matched to children’s developing abilities and interests, drawing upon observations and assessments to plan for progression and to identify children who need additional support, for example to discriminate and produce the sounds of speech.
A rich and varied environment will support children’s language learning through Phase One and beyond. Indoor and outdoor spaces are well planned so that they can be used flexibly to encourage children to explore and apply the knowledge and skills to which they have been introduced through the activities.
Exploring the sounds in words should occur as opportunities arise throughout the course of the day’s activities, as well as in planned adult-led sessions with groups and individual children.
Effective assessment involves careful observation, analysis and review by practitioners of each child’s knowledge, skills and understanding in order to track their progress and make informed decisions about planning for the next steps of learning.
In the summer term of Year 1, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the children. We will let you know how your child has done. Children who do not pass the phonics check in Year 1 retake the assessment during Year 2 to ensure that they have made progress. If your child is a candidate for this, then we will let you know in advance and also feedback the findings.
Our approach to reading
Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.
We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.
We start by teaching phonics in Reception using ‘Letters and Sounds’. Children learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well.
The children also practise reading (and spelling) ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.
Once children can blend sounds together to read words, they practise reading books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start to believe they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.
Teachers regularly read to the children, too, so the children get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing.
Up until the end of Year 2, your child will work with children who are at the same reading level. This is so that the teaching can be focused on their needs. Some older children will continue to access ‘Letters and Sounds’ groups if they need further consolidation and development of reading skills.
We check children’s reading skills regularly so we that we can ensure they are in the right group. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress or may have one-to-one support if we think they need some extra help. In Key Stage 2 (years 3, 4, 5 and 6,) the children undertake regular guided reading sessions with the staff in their class, have a wide selection of reading materials to choose from and projects linked to reading, with rewards systems for encouragement.
In school we have made a significant investment in a variety of reading schemes to encourage your child to access a range of texts suited to their own personal interests while also extending their reading ability and confidence. The schemes are: Bug club, Ginn All Aboard, Rigby Star, Cambridge Reading, Collins Big Cat and Oxford Reading Tree.
Pupils also have access to a significant 'library' collection of books and are encouraged to read three times weekly at home.
Classes read shared texts where reading and writing combine, providing children with a deeper understanding of texts. Books are carefully chosen to meet the needs and interests of the cohort and staff develop teaching plans to enthuse the children. They often link into our wider curriculum, with history, geography and social themes particularly popular with our pupils.
We are currently part in a programme to develop ‘Reading for Pleasure’. This has involved a significant focus on all staff modelling reading for pleasure, establishing regular times to read. Reading for pleasure has been proved to make a significant difference in children’s lives so staff are making time and cosy spaces to enjoy a wide variety of quality literature alongside their class. Recommending texts also plays a huge role in encouraging reading for pleasure (RfP).
Our approach to writing
Talk for Writing (Reception - Yr3)
We have been on quite a journey with writing at Parkroyal. We started the ’Talk for Writing’ programme back in 2016 and embedded the approach across the school over a two year period. Talk for Writing, developed by Pie Corbett, is powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally before reading and analysing it and then writing their own version.
Once the teacher has established a creative context and an engaging start, a typical Talk-for-Writing unit would begin with some engaging activities warming up the tune of the text, as well as the topic focused on, to help children internalise the pattern of the language required.This is often followed by talking an exemplar text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the children recall the story or nonfiction piece. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down.
When they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work. This stage could include a range of reading as-a-reader and as-a-writer activities. Understanding the structure of the text is easy if you use the boxing-up technique and then help the children to analyse the features that have helped to make the text work. In this way the class starts to co-construct a toolkit for this type of text so that they can talk about the ingredients themselves.
Once the children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. This could begin with more advanced activities to warm up the key words and phrases of the type of text focused on so the children can magpie ideas. Younger children and less confident writers alter their text maps and orally rehearse what they want to say, creating their own version. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping the children to write their own by “doing one together” first. Throughout the shared writing, the children should be strengthening the toolkit so they start to understand the type of ingredients that may help.
The teacher will support the pupils in their next steps needed so the children can become independent speakers and writers of this type of text. This process also helps the children internalise the toolkit for such writing so that it becomes a practical flexible toolkit in the head rather than a list to be looked at and blindly followed. At the end of the unit, the children’s work should be published or displayed. The teacher will now have a good picture of what features to focus on in the next unit to move the children forward. It is important to provide children with a purpose for their writing so classroom display or some sort of publishing is useful.
IPEELL - Using Self Regulation to improve writing (Yr4 - Yr6)
In addition to this we have taken part in a project exploring another approach with our older pupils. The IPEELL approach. Teachers support pupils by helping them develop strategies beyond scaffolded writing, building confidence and self-assessment skills and providing a structure for pupils to tackle writing challenges across different text types.
The process of IPEELL is that:
Pupils discover the value of a memorable event in providing them with something to write about. A class visit/experience provides an excellent opportunity for pupils to explore a learning environment outside the classroom, to spark their imagination and to provide them with a memory they want to write about.
Pupils discover methods to support the organisation of their writing in any form and across all subject areas. Teachers help pupils internalise the IPEELL approach which enables them to transfer their skills to any writing task.
Pupils are encouraged to take ownership of their progress using self-assessment tools, peer assessment and goal setting. They learn meta-cognitive skills so that they are able to identify success criteria for a piece of writing and accurately assess the extent to which they have met the criteria and any areas that could be improved.
Pupils develop strategies to build positive attitudes toward writing in the classroom using motivational messages are used successfully in a wide range of contexts, particularly in sport, but rarely in more academic subjects
We use some elements of the IPEELL approach across all year-groups, including:
PAT - to highlight a piece of writing’s purpose, audience and text-type
Memorable experiences to provide real, engaging contexts for the pupils’ writing
Motivational messages/positive self-talk to promote positive attitudes and self-efficacy in our pupils
Bob Cox Opening Doors
We have recently introduced this mastery approach to teaching writing, as a supplement to how writing is already taught across school (as outlined above).
The Opening Doors approach works on the notion of aiming high, aiming fast and being ambitious. Teachers are provided with high quality extracts, resources and teaching ideas- based around classic literary texts- to deliver engaging and high quality lessons.
Therefore, pupils learning is based around high-quality, ‘classic’ texts and picture books, mastery questioning and going ‘beyond the limit’ with vocabulary choices and intertextuality.
Our approach to maths
All maths taught in school aims to help the children to achieve confidence in their ability to understand and perform mathematical tasks. Opportunities exist at all stages for the children to explore situations and carry out investigations in oral, mental and practical ways. Tables and basic number work are given high emphasis and these concepts are taught in a variety of methods to suit the individual child.
All children take part in a structured daily mathematics lesson which progressively allows the children to develop an understanding of mathematical concepts through practical work with apparatus which then leads to recording formally and informally. We use our own curriculum closely based on the 2014 National Curriculum in England: mathematics programmes of study. This includes a great emphasis on the mastery of concepts and developing the ability to reason mathematically and solve problems.
Oral and mental work feature strongly in each lesson. We aim to provide a positive attitude towards the acquisition of numerical skills, confidence to tackle mathematical challenges as well as the awareness of the need to apply this in everyday life. Our aim is to develop children's abilities to think clearly and logically when tackling problems and to use and apply mathematical skills and concepts in a variety of situations. Regular assessments take place to inform planning.
We aim to enable a child to develop a positive and confident attitude to mathematics, an ability to think clearly and logically, and to gain an understanding of mathematics through the formation of secure concepts based on:
An enjoyment of mathematics for its own sake.
Appropriate practical activities.
The process of enquiry and investigation.
Mathematical skills and knowledge and a quick recall of basic facts.
An ability to identify patterns and relationships in mathematics.
An awareness of the uses and applications of mathematics in everyday situations.
The ability to express ideas concisely using accurate mathematical language.
The ability to select and use a range of mathematical tools.