Batchwood School: Passion Belief Courage

Reading, Phonics, Interventions &  Communication

At Batchwood School, our aim is to enable students to develop their reading and communication skills through continuous encouragement, whilst fostering a love of reading. At Batchwood, we are able to achieve this by using a wide range of high quality texts throughout our curriculums, which ensure that the students will progress their reading and exposure as they move through both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. Reading skills are also encouraged and developed through students being taught to use objects, photos, and symbols to promote the development of their receptive and expressive skills. This is to enable students to expand their critical thinking skills. They use their reading knowledge to develop analytical and evaluative comprehension through exposure to a wide range of texts. In turn, they strengthen their reading skills progressively, so that they are able to access all texts used in Key Stage 4 for assessment and be ready for life after school.

This is achieved through discrete weekly reading for pleasure lessons, where students are engaged with a variety of age-related stories; through reading and literacy weekly form time, where the students can individually choose their own book to read or read as a group; and through continuous access to a wide range of books organised in reading difficulty levels in our school library. Individual reading is encouraged, with Batchwood sourcing books relating to students’ individual interests. Students also have the opportunity to have stories read to them by staff to encourage the discovery of new vocabulary. Staff model their love of reading through classroom displays of their favourite books and the book they are currently reading. During weekly house assemblies, staff will discuss their favourite book with the school. Reading skills are also promoted through technology and games, through Literacy Planet and reading of non-fiction and news stories is encouraged and promoted through the school's subscription to First News.

Phonics & Interventions

When students begin their journey at Batchwood, they are assessed for their knowledge of phonics. Where necessary, students will be given one-to-one sessions to develop their phonics and reading skills. These sessions are adapted to meet the individual special needs of the student. The students are regularly assessed to monitor their progress. Phonics is taught either individually or in small groups using the Letters and Sounds program or Toe by Toe, which is a reading programme designed for older learners.

Where students are able to apply their phonics knowledge but their reading is affected by their special educational needs, as set out in their EHCP, or where they are not at age-related expectations, we provide one-to-one interventions with staff. In these sessions, students are encouraged to read and are introduced to a wide range of new vocabulary where each student can work at their own pace, developing their skills. During these sessions, students can also be introduced to new texts or stories not in the subject specific curriculums, which are chosen using a person-centred approach, in another effort to foster a love of reading.

Teaching & Learning of Reading

At Batchwood School, our staff understand and place value on the teaching and learning of reading and have high aspirations for our students’ learning. It is recognised by all staff that each of our students have special educational needs, making it difficult for some to advance their reading skills. As well as baseline assessment upon entry to the school, students are given an annual reading test to allow us to monitor their progress and direct interventions where needed at a level suitable for the individual.

Students’ learning is supported through a breadth of texts over the five-year curriculum. The curriculum includes poetry, fiction, non-fiction and instructional texts. Teaching enhances the students’ understanding of these texts and gives them every opportunity to read and learn about the many different texts that are in everyday life at levels suitable to them, whilst ensuring progression and challenge. The texts selected are appropriate for students at both their level of understanding and reflect what they need to learn. For example, students in Key Stage 4 are introduced to texts related to the GCSE curriculum and for the final exams as well as texts to prepare them for adulthood. At Key Stage 3, students access texts that introduce them to key concepts, and language devices to support learning in Key Stage 4. In doing so, we are removing barriers our students face to be able to access public exams where appropriate.

Our discrete reading for pleasure lessons introduce students to new genres and themes, supporting our students’ learning by ensuring they have had access to as many different texts as possible. These lessons also encourage our students to develop the reading and listening skills alongside their receptive and expressive communication skills, through group discussions at different points through the text being read.

Reading & SMSC

At Batchwood, we understand the importance of reading in the development of our students’ SMSC and understanding of language to support their preparation for adulthood. As such, we ensure that we use reading to promote social skills in our students.

By using reading and literacy games, our students are encouraged to build their social skills and their communication with peers and staff.

Batchwood uses reading to promote themes in relation to mental health, RHSE and PSHE, for specific learning of important cultural days, such as Holocaust Memorial Day, where students were taken to exhibitions and encouraged to read the information, study of Anne Frank’s Diary and other texts relating to the holocaust. Students are annually introduced to texts relating to war for Remembrance Day, where some students are encouraged to read aloud for the school.

To progress our students and their reading skills, we ensure that we introduce our students to texts relating to a wide range of themes to enhance their cultural capital. We use texts from the British literary heritage, such as Shakespeare, with visits to the Globe, Dickens, 19th century authors, poetry and drama texts, alongside modern and contemporary literature.

Next Steps for Reading at Batchwood School

We will be introducing a reading record to encourage independent reading for all students. This will ensure reading progression is closely tracked and students will have more opportunities to read texts of their choosing that can be supported by the school.

There will be continuous promotion of our existing resources, including First News and Literacy Planet, and the development of a rewards system to encourage the use of these valuable literacy resources.

We will continue to develop our library and book provision to ensure students have access to an area which further promotes their love of reading, inspires their creative thinking and gives them the opportunity to experience reading that has not been teacher led. We will also be buying new books and digital titles relating to individual interests.

There will be ongoing staff training on reading and phonics across the school to enable all staff to aid the progression of all our students, across all subject areas.

We will continue to promote literacy across the curriculum and reading for pleasure across subjects and in form groups.