Phonics and Reading Coverage


At Renishaw Primary School, synthetic phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading. Regular phonics sessions are taught from EYFS through to Year 2. These sessions follow the government published programme ‘Little Wandle’ which links in with our whole school Collins ‘Big Cat’ reading scheme.

The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. At Renishaw Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.

Key Stage 2

During catch up phonics continues to be taught daily for those children that have not yet completed the full teaching of the phonic scheme. This done through Little Wandle daily (at least) phonic sessions and through three times a week Little Wandle reading sessions.

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Children who continue to need extra support may then be taught through daily Project X Code Reading Sessions as intervention support and interwoven into teaching within KS2, to ensure that there are no gaps. All staff have received training and have an up to date assessment tracker, to ensure that any gaps are supported and progress and impact if intervention is tracked.

Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment. These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. The children have reading books which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their current phonics level.

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We use the Scarborough Reading Rope to look at the different strands that help a child to become a skilled reader. If a child is struggling we will consider which strand may be causing a barrier to their skilled reading.


At Renishaw, synthetic phonics is taught as the main approach to early reading. Regular phonics sessions are taught from EYFS through to Year 2. These sessions follow the published programme ‘Little Wandle’ alongside our ‘Big Cat’ scheme.

At each phase children are taught to recognise individual sounds, digraphs (two letters one sound) and trigraphs (three letters one sound). In phonic sessions, children are taught to recognise letters, understand the sound they make and then blend them together to create words. Some words, which cannot be phonetically sounded out, are taught at each phase. These are ‘tricky words’ and are taught through sight recognition and by identifying the tricky part.

A session is a daily 20-minute structured lesson, where the children have the opportunity to practice reading and writing. Children then read in groups three times a week using a book accurately aligned to the phonics and tricky words that they already know. We want them to be confident at reading and to find pleasure and confidence in reading.

‘Little Wandle’ is split into 6 phases. These are expected to be taught during the following years when not in catch up from Covid: 

Phase 1 – Nursery                                              

Phase 2, 3, 4 – Reception

Phase 5 – Year 1

The lessons are designed to be consistent so that children know what is expected from them and can concentrate on learning the new sounds or tricky words. You might hear your children say some of the mantras that we use such as “shuffle time” or “segmenting fingers.”

For more information on Little Wandle please click

In 2012 a statutory check was introduced in Year 1. The check assesses phonics knowledge learnt in Reception (phase 2,3 and 4) and in Year 1 (phase 5). It was developed to help identify the children who need extra help with decoding and blending before they begin Year 2.

Reading at Home

We will teach your children to read and we appreciate you listening to them read a book that they are already familiar with and can already read all of the graphemes and words within it. Children will have three reading lessons using the same book, which is then assigned as an ebook that you can share together at home. This is the same book that children will have read during their three reading sessions at school. The three reading lessons using the same book comprise of:

Lesson 1 reading for decoding building up fluency

Lesson 2 reading for prosody – reading more fluently and with expression

Lesson 3 reading for comprehension

They will also choose a reading for pleasure book for you to read together.

There are many great websites and apps to help support phonics learning at home. Here are some of our favourites used in school: – Buried Treasure, Dragons Den, Obb and Bob

Phonics Vocabulary

Phoneme – The smallest unit of sound. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (it depends on different accents). Phonemes can be put together to make words.

Grapheme – A way of writing down a phoneme. Graphemes can be made up from 1 letter e.g. p, 2 letters e.g. sh, 3 letters e.g. tch or 4 letters e.g ough.

GPC – This is short for Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence. Knowing a GPC means being able to match a phoneme to a grapheme and vice versa.

Digraph – A grapheme containing two letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Trigraph – A grapheme containing three letters that makes just one sound (phoneme).

Blending- This involves looking at a written word, looking at each grapheme and using knowledge of GPCs to work out which phoneme each grapheme represents and then merging these phonemes together to make a word.

Segmenting – This involves hearing a word, splitting it up into the phonemes (sound talk/sounding out) that make it, using knowledge of GPCs to work out which graphemes represent those phonemes and then writing those graphemes down in the right order.

Guidance on more terminology that we use can be found in the helpfulglossary below.


In Key Stage 2 we teach reading whole class and will use a variety of fiction, non fiction texts and poetry. We use the same text through the week and include a short section to build fluency, We pre-teach vocabulary where need and include vocabulary for children to try and work out what it means. We use our inference toolkit to teach children strategies that will help them to make inferences and build their comprehension of a text.

We monitor fluency half termly and where needed offer interventions to support inference and fluency.

Across school we read for pleasure each day to the children. We choose our books carefully so that children are exposed to range of texts over each year that will help the children to navigate reading with confidence . This includes texts that use archaic language, texts that may not have a straight forward time line, texts where there is some symbolism or metaphors included, texts which are more narratively complex – the narrator might be an animal or there may be more than one narrator and texts that present more of a challenge to understand.


Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments


Curriculum Intent

Our curriculum will give our children the confidence, cultural capital, ability and vocabulary to express their ideas, feelings and opinions. We will provide fun and exciting opportunities that are underpinned by opportunities to speak, listen, discuss, debate and perform.

We recognise that the development of talk underpins everything else: all learning including reading and writing.

We will provide a language rich environment where our learning will include lots of talk to discuss their well-being, reasoning, problem solving skills and opinions. We will help our children to experiment with and develop the language structures that they need for different purposes. Through our curriculum children will be able to articulate comparisons, persuade us, explain ideas, retell events, share predictions and opinions developing their academic language.

We will stretch children’s vocabulary to create breadth and depth so that they become accomplished communicators who can express what they feel precisely and confidently. Technical vocabulary and vocabulary to communicate is planned and taught explicitly with opportunities to evaluate and apply this growing vocabulary, from an early age children are encouraged to use full sentences with technical vocabulary. Through collaborative learning they will reflect on their learning and feel confident to respectfully challenge or add to others’ ideas and opinions.

We want children to find their voice. Through our curriculum our children will leave us as confident, articulate global citizens.


The children are taught throughout the school according to their age, aptitude and ability, through a cross-curricular, experiential approach. Each child is encouraged to develop their full potential academically, physically, socially, artistically, technologically, spiritually and morally. We pride ourselves on our creative approach to the curriculum. Staff always display work from projects attractively, reflecting our quality learning environment. The corridors also have a high standard of work on display.

We are extremely proud of the curriculum we offer at Renishaw Primary School and of the excellent standard of work produced by the children who come here!

The law states that children of the Primary age range follow a common programme of study. It was brought about by the Education Act of 1988 and was last reviewed in 2014.

The basic curriculum is made up of Core and Foundation subjects.

Core Subjects

English, Mathematics and Science.

Foundation Subjects

Science, Geography, History, Technology, Art, Music, Computing Physical Education Design Technology and Religious Education

We have clear schemes and guidance to guide the teaching and learning in the school to help ensure that all children, no matter what their ability, achieve their full potential.

In the Primary School there are three “Key Stages” for the different age groups:

  • The Foundation Stage: 3 to 5
  • Key Stage One: 5 to 7
  • Key Stage Two: 7 to 11

When the children are 7 and 11 they are assessed and their achievements are related to the National Curriculum Attainment Targets – these are known as S.A.T.s (Standard Attainment Tasks).

Children in the Foundation Stage are also assessed and at the beginning of their entry into Nursery and Reception and at the end of the school year. The evidence collected provides a profile of their attainment against six areas of learning.

All children are assessed throughout school using a range of tasks and tests which provide a clear indication of their progress and needs.

The curriculum is all the planned activities that we organise in order to promote learning and personal growth and development. It includes not only the formal requirements of the National Curriculum 2014, but also a range of extra-curricular activities that the school organises in order to enrich the experience of the children. It also includes the ‘hidden curriculum’, or what the children learn from the way they are treated and expected to behave. We aim to teach children how to grow into positive, responsible people, who can work and co-operate with others while developing knowledge and skills, so that they achieve their true potential.

Organisation and planning

We plan our curriculum in three phases. We agree a long-term plan for each key stage. This indicates what topics are to be taught in each term, and to which groups of children. We review our Long Term Plan on an annual basis.

With our medium-term plans, we give clear guidance on the objectives and teaching strategies that we use when teaching each topic. We use the Programmes of study from the 2014 National Curriculum to plan our topics and refer back to the Primary Strategies if necessary.

Our short-term plans are those that our teachers write on a weekly basis. We use these to set out the learning objectives for each session, and to identify what activities we are going to use in the lesson.

In the Foundation Stage, at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 we adopt an inter-disciplinary topic approach to curriculum planning. We plan the curriculum carefully, so that there is coherence and full coverage of all aspects of the National Curriculum and/or Early Learning Goals, and there is planned progression in all curriculum areas. Over the three terms of the academic year, each term will have a specific topic focus, history, geography or science. Science will also always be taught during the 2 terms when it is not the focus.

Educational Visits

We try to ensure the children undertake a half or full day visit or have a visitor come to school each term to enhance the ‘topic’ being studied. Voluntary parental contributions are asked to cover any costs incurred from these activities. In the event of the voluntary parental contributions not covering the overall costs of the activity, it may have to be cancelled. No profit accrues to the school from the voluntary contributions and on many occasions the school will subsidise these visits.