Reading: Our aim is to provide children with opportunities which will develop enjoyment and foster a love of books. The teaching of reading is given the highest priority so that we enable children to read fluently and with understanding. Children are given opportunities to experience material from a wide variety of printed reading programmes as well as those available on screen, making use of digital technologies including e-books for all Foundation children. The Oakfield reading programme is centred on the Oxford Reading Tree. It also incorporates a wide variety of other nationally available reading schemes including materials from Pearson's Bug Club, Ginn, Nelson Thornes, Rigby, and Young Puffin. Formal reading skills, including synthetic phonics, are taught from the Foundation Stage upwards. In Key Stage 2, knowledge and understanding of phonics are built upon as an aid to developing competence in both reading and spelling.
There is a daily uninterrupted reading session throughout the school, in which children read to themselves or share books with others. Books are taken home each night for children to share with their families. Each class has a well-stocked book corner and there is a central lending library housing both non-fiction and fiction books. In addition, books are celebrated with special events organised on World Book Day and World Poetry Day. Visiting authors, storytellers and poets are invited to Oakfield adding to the rich reading experiences provided by the school. Teachers recognise the importance of reading aloud to children and regularly model good practice in their classes, introducing children to new stories and poems. Book Talk is an integral part of lessons. Our reading results in the Key Stage 1 SATs are amongst the highest in the country.
Phonics: Oakfield's approach to phonics incorporates a lively, interactive programme based on Bug Club (Pearson) and Floppy's Phonics (Oxford Reading Tree) delivered daily in the Foundation Stage. This is continued into Key Stage 1 until the children are confident to use their knowledge of sounds to decode new words they hear and see. In June 2014, 79% of our Year 1 children passed the National Year 1 Phonics Test compared with the national result of 66% in June 2013.
Writing: All children write regularly for a variety of purposes and audiences, using poetry, prose, fact and fiction. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught in the context of the children’s own work. Children are encouraged to redraft and edit their own efforts where necessary. They are taught to look for letter patterns and use the 'Look, Say, Cover, Write and Check' method to master the spelling of new words. Correct formation of letters in a cursive style is taught from the outset to facilitate joined writing. This is introduced during the children’s first term at school. In Key Stage 2, when children consistently demonstrate careful handwriting, they are encouraged to write in ink.
Teachers make use of a wide variety of resources to motivate and enthuse young writers, including the use of film and artefacts to stimulate imaginative creative writing. Visual Literacy is given a high priority as an aid for both reading and writing. Oakfield adopts the philosophy of the educationalist and author, Pie Corbett, and has pioneered his 'Talk for Writing' programme. All teaching staff are trained in this dynamic approach, which continues to have a positive effect upon children’s writing nationally.
Children are given opportunities to write individually, in pairs or in small groups as well as collaboratively with the teacher. Teachers model the writing process in front of the class, so that children see what is involved in planning and constructing a piece of work. Discussion of published writers’ work and the effect it has upon the reader help children to see the power of the written word.
Speaking and Listening: In order to communicate effectively and build confidence, children are given the opportunity to express themselves orally in a wide variety of contexts. This may be in drama and role play, news sharing, poetry performance or debates and discussions.
Across the curriculum, talk is valued and children are encouraged to listen attentively to the views and opinions of others. Developing good listening skills is vital as children need to be able to follow increasingly complex instructions in order to carry out tasks. They are helped to explain their thinking in a clear and precise way, express opinions, pose and answer questions.
Participation in problem solving, prediction and logical argument is encouraged in all subject areas. Oakfield’s aim is to help individuals to become articulate, confident speakers in a supportive and secure setting.