Skip to content ↓

The Downley School

“Learning, Growing and Succeeding Together”

English Information and Guidance

English at The Downley School

Parents/carers at school are extremely keen to be engaged with their child’s learning and many have attended English Evenings for Parents/carers. The English Policy and other useful materials can be found at the bottom of this page.

The teaching of phonics, reading and spelling is one of our highest priorities.

We aim to foster a love of reading in each child in the school and to create a culture of reading for pleasure.

  • In order to be able to read, children need to understand the sound each letter and combination of letters make.  Synthetic phonics is the explicit teaching of letters and the sounds they make.  We teach children to segment words into smaller units of sound.  We also teach children about the words that cannot be broken down such as ‘was!’ 
  • Every child in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 receives phonic teaching every day.  We follow ‘Letters and Sounds’, which is a synthetic based phonics teaching programme.  Children start on Phase 1 in Foundation Stage and aim to have completed Phase 6 by the end of Year 2.  For those children who need extra time to complete up to Phase 6, teaching continues into Year 3.
  • Alongside the teaching of phonics, we use a range of reading schemes which include: 'Oxford Reading Tree’ and 'Big Cat Phonics' - high quality reading schemes based on synthetic phonics.
  • Our new 'Irresistible Curriculum' is built around a quality central text. Each year group shares a book and is able to extend the learning alongside being inclusive. We choose the books based on the whole school theme which also supports a whole school excitement about the topic.
  • Our School Library will be changing to an information station where the children will be able to read for enjoyment and also use technology to enhance their reading through investigation. Every child in the school has the opportunity to visit the information station. 
  • Throughout the school, children are heard to read which is a time when they can discuss book choices and be offered reading suggestions.
  • We have excellent parent/carer support and the children benefit from reading aloud to our parent/carers and community volunteers.
  • In Key Stage 2, children participate in Peer Reading, which has proven to be very popular.  The older children are carefully paired with the younger pupils and listen to and read to them whilst discussing book choices and preferences.
  • In addition, children receive 3 reading sessions every week.  This is an adult led activity where the children's independence increases throughout the week. We need to remember that the children will be able to decode books before they can fully comprehend them. Books may be read and used more than once to support comprehension activities.
  • In order to help your children at home, we have Reading Journals.  You should record in these every time you hear your child read. Please remember that even our Year 6 pupils need to read aloud at least three times a week!  At the back of the Reading Journals, there are questions you could ask your children about the book they have been reading and, for our older pupils, extension activities that they could try at home.
  • We hold Parent/carer Information Evenings every academic year about how you can help your child read at home and our open door policy means that you can always ask someone if you are unsure about how best to help your child on their reading journey.
  • Please see the below reading list for recommended books. 

The full objectives for English under the new National Curriculum can be downloaded here: