English is taught both as a separate subject and through the many other subjects in our topic approach to the curriculum. We follow the government's National Curriculum for English as this is what children will be tested on but we teach it in a creative way. As well as reading and writing, which have separate pages here, English also includes speaking and listening. English is coordinated by a team of teachers led by Mrs Joiner. See also our curriculum page for details of what we teach.
At Woodside Academy, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. Therefore, we have a Reading leadership team comprised of the English Lead, Phonics Lead and Early Years Lead. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education. We therefore intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop: knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation and love of reading; to gain knowledge across the curriculum; and develop their comprehension skills. We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material so children are exposed to a wide variety of texts.
We now use the Monster Phonics programme. We changed to this from Read, Write, Inc in the summer term 2023 because we wanted a scheme where children could learn together in their own class with their own teacher rather than move to ability groupings with different staff. Having seen Monster Phonics at work in some of our partner schools in the Independent Primary Academy Group we decided to trial it at Woodside. We found it highly engaging to children and accompanied by high quality teaching resources and reading books. This change was not without cost but for us the teaching of phonics is a high priority. Children learn to read fluently and at speed so they can focus on developing their skills in comprehension, vocabulary and spelling. All reading books progress cumulatively, and are closely matched to the sounds children are learning and already know. Successful phonics teaching opens the way to confident reading and full access to a wide curriculum for all children.
At Woodside, early reading and phonics skills are taught from the very beginning of each child’s learning journey. Formal phonics begins in Reception and continues up until Year 2 and beyond if needed.
We have recently changed our Phonics scheme from Read, Write Inc to Monster Phonics, which is a highly-engaging, structured, synthetic phonics programme. It accelerates learning by allowing children to learn new graphemes by using monsters to group graphemes for recall and to provide an easy and fun memory cue for children. It also uses colour-coding to highlight the new grapheme. Once taught and secure, the colour is removed.
We trialled Monster Phonics during the Summer Term, and then formally adopted it after a successful trial and pleased that they have gained DfE accreditation. A training day, involving all staff was held, focusing on Monster Phonics, and we will also be holding a two-day information session for parents and carers. Additionally, we are looking forward to our Monster Phonics launch day.
Phonics is taught daily in Reception and KS1 for 30 minutes by a trained teacher or TA.
In Reception initial sounds and Reception decodable and tricky words are taught. Consonant digraphs are introduced, as are some vowel digraphs. Each lesson focuses only on words that use graphemes that have been taught so far. As the year progresses well-known repetitive traditional stories and songs provide a focus for activities to develop reading and writing in sentences. The aim is to provide real and meaningful contexts for practising blending and segmenting graphemes, CCVC, CVCC, CCVCC, CVC+. Focus is given to blending and segmenting skills, whilst increasing automaticity to read and write captions and sentences.
All Year 1 graphemes are taught as well as the Year 1 common exception words and the first 300 high frequency words. In spelling the children are introduced to suffixes where no changes occur to the root word these are then reinforced in grapheme lessons. As the year progresses the children will learn common prefixes and the k before e, i and y spelling rule.
All Year 1 graphemes are taught by week 9 then revision lessons commence. The daily activities check for gaps in learning, further reinforce word lists, practise grammatical rules and dictation.
In Year 2 all the National Curriculum graphemes, the Year 2 common exception words and spelling rules, including the rules for adding vowel suffixes – the drop e, double consonant and y to an i rule are taught. Homophones/near homophones are also taught. This then progresses to the teaching of further spelling rules with a focus on consonant suffixes, contractions and possessive apostrophes. After a formative assessment, grapheme revision lessons commence. The daily activities check for gaps in learning, further reinforce word lists, practise grammatical rules and dictation.
At Woodside Academy, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. Therefore, we have a Reading leadership team comprised of the English Lead, Phonics Lead and Early Years Lead.
It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
We therefore intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop: knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation and love of reading; to gain knowledge across the curriculum; and develop their comprehension skills. We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material so children are exposed to a wide variety of texts.
At Woodside Academy, we are passionate about reading.
The theme for last year’s ‘Book Week’ was reading for pleasure. Throughout the week, we had a visit from Natalie Newman who co-authored Lark the Shark with her son (Henry) and children were able to buy signed copies. M&M Productions brought us their poignant Dicken's classic, Oliver Twist and we had quite a few Dickensian characters when we dressed up for World Book Day. Our "Reading in an Unusual Place" photo competition proved that you can read absolutely anywhere. Through the week staff shared their love of reading and of books with children who we hope will take this inspiration and keep reading and improving their schools. We also had record sales at our book fair which means we will have more books for children to read in school and also for our weekly home reading prizes.
At Woodside Academy, writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. Our bespoke writing curriculum is linked to our geography, history, science and wider curriculum. Grammar, spelling and punctuation is linked to each writing unit and is taught contextually. A vast range of genres (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) are covered in each year group to give children the opportunity to explore the features of a range of texts. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
Our intention is for pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription and effective composition. They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.