In all areas of our curriculum we aim to engage, motivate and stretch each child. We do this by providing stimulating lessons that are purposeful, enjoyable and responsive to each child. We intend to promote the development of children intellectually, socially, physically and morally to provide children with the basic skills they need for life.
In the early stages of their school life the children are encouraged to explore their own interests as well as be guided in the skills and knowledge that lead to reading, writing, mathematics and science. As they progress through the school, we aim to introduce a wide range of themes in history, geography, art etc to give understanding to the world around them. In addition to the subjects specified by the National Curriculum the school addresses areas such as personal and social understanding, health, multi-cultural learning and citizenship.
At Exford First School we use the "Letter and Sounds" programme for phonics. This is a nationally recognised scheme and is complemented with resources from Read, Write, Inc. In our Pre-School and Reception initial sounds are taught using a variety of techniques such as actions and songs. Once familiar with these, children begin to blend to read their first words. Children work through the phonic phases as appropriate and are assessed regularly.
In Reading, pupils have access to a variety of books from a range of reading schemes and including a wealth of authors to support children with their reading skills. This is because children learn to read in different ways. Schemes used in school include Oxford Reading Tree, Big Cats Phonics, Rigby Star and Project X. Many of our reading schemes are based on phonetic decoding although they often focus on key words which can only be read by sight recognition. We even have books with no words at all so that pupils can begin to understand stories through observing the illustrations. Once the class teacher is happy with a pupil's reading and comprehension of books within a stage they will progress to the next stage. As children become more confident with reading and have built up a strong sight-vocabulary we introduce our Accelerated Reader programme, which is an online tool for managing and monitoring independent reading practice whilst promoting reading for pleasure. Parents are provided with access to their child/ren's reading profile to share in their success.
At Exford First School we believe in developing a love of reading and storytelling, and understand the importance of developing reading skills from an early age. Children are listened to by a variety of adults, including their class teacher, classroom assistant and volunteer readers. Children in all year groups undertake a weekly guided reading sessions where texts are read and discussed as a group. Children are able to change their own reading books once a book is completed, although they are encouraged to read a range of genres to enable them to think about the structure and features of a text type. They also have access to the library bus and can borrow books to share at home.