Phonics

At Dorchester, phonics is taught throughout the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 (where required).

We follow a systematic programme called ‘Little Wandle‘, which provides pupils with the opportunity to develop their understanding of letters and the sounds that they make.

Phonics is taught daily in small groups appropriate to the needs of pupils.

Our Approach:

At the start of the journey, staff work with pupils in small groups to ensure that their listening skills are sufficiently developed. This is so that they can hear the sounds in spoken words.

When children are ready, we start to teach them to match letters to sounds in order to read and write. Our phonics programme is based on a multisensory approach where pupil’s listening, speaking and visual recognition are all being stimulated at the same time. This makes learning meaningful and long lasting.

Within every phonics lesson, pupils recap previous skills, learn something new, practise this and then apply their learning through short reading and writing tasks.

In 2023, the percentage of pupils passing the phonics check in year 1 was 82%.

“In the short term, leaders have placed a greater focus on subjects such as
English and mathematics.”

Ofsted

“Teachers provide lots of opportunities for pupils to rehearse and say the sounds they are learning aloud, which helps them to remember them.”

Ofsted

“School council representatives attend School Stakeholder Group (SSG) meetings to share their views.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have created an ambitious curriculum that sets out clearly what pupils should
learn and when.”

Ofsted

“Pupils are clear about the school rules.”

Ofsted

“In subjects such as history, teachers use assessment skilfully to find out what pupils know before they start to teach a new unit of work.”

Ofsted

“Children are
taught to read as soon as they start in the early years.”

Ofsted

“Leaders provide ‘chatterpacks’ to parents so that they have the age-appropriate resources they need to support their child’s
reading.”

Ofsted

“In the early years, mathematics is a high priority. Daily ‘carpet time’ is used to teach children
mathematical concepts”

Ofsted

“Democratically elected roles, such as house captains and school councillors, enable pupils to contribute purposefully to school life.”

Ofsted

“Leaders use assessment well to ensure that the books pupils read match the sounds they already know.”

Ofsted

“In other curriculum
areas, such as design technology (DT), the curriculum is improving rapidly.”

Ofsted

“Strong, cross-curricular links with subjects, such as science, give pupils the opportunity to apply their skills and
knowledge when making products.”

Ofsted

“As soon as children start school, leaders check their speech and language needs so that extra help can be provided, where it is required.”

Ofsted

“Pupils spoke with enthusiasm about the school garden they are developing and of their plans for the fruit and vegetables they will grow.”

Ofsted

“The mathematics curriculum is clearly sequenced. Teachers provide opportunities for pupils to continually revisit and review previous learning.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have rightly reorganised their curriculum to make up for learning that has been
lost during the COVID-19”

Ofsted

“Leaders have established ‘hive’ provision for pupils who need it. These well-resourced, intimate settings provide the intense support that a significant minority of pupils need.”

Ofsted

“The help that leaders provide for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is a strength of the school.”

Ofsted

“Leaders’ subject monitoring has led to a consistent and successful approach to the teaching of phonics across the early years and key stage 1.”

Ofsted

“One pupil told inspectors that ‘teachers are really caring, we know if we ask for help, we will get it’.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have ensured that pupils have plenty of opportunities
to design, make and evaluate projects using different materials.”

Ofsted

“Leaders ensure there is a focus on developing pupils’ mathematical vocabulary.”

Ofsted

“Pupils now use mathematical vocabulary with accuracy.”

Ofsted

“Knowledgeable and highly trained leaders ensure that pupils get the support they need to achieve.”

Ofsted

“Leaders ensure that opportunities for pupils to apply their mathematical understanding are provided in the activities pupils
complete.”

Ofsted

“Leaders have continued to prioritise the teaching of phonics and reading.”

Ofsted

“Pupils feel that they are being listened to and that their views help leaders to improve the school.”

Ofsted