Learning today for a better tomorrow. We are The Richmond Family.


September 2021:

Until July 2021, we used Letters and Sounds, published in 2007 by the then Labour Government, to teach synthetic phonics to all children in the EYFS and Key Stage 1, and those children beyond these years who need extra practice.

According to the Department for Education (DfE): ‘For a number of years, effective teaching using Letters and Sounds has relied on schools themselves building a programme around the handbook. We recognise, however, that for many schools, especially those who want or need to improve their practice, 2007 Letters and Sounds is not fit for purpose and does not provide the support, guidance, resources or training needed.’ In a similar way to how it evaluated maths textbooks a few years ago, when we chose Maths No Problem as our approach to the teaching of mathematics, the DfE has decided to re-evaluate the published systematic synthetic phonics programmes for use in English primary schools to ensure that they are fit for purpose.

In anticipation of this, before the DfE’s February 2022 deadline is upon us, we have decided to adopt Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. This is a huge investment for us as a school – but reading is the key to unlocking the rest of the curriculum, so it is worth the time, effort and money that we will have to put into moving over to this new way of teaching reading.

To ensure consistency across the school, we are also going to be implementing Ruth Miskin’s Read Write Inc. Literacy and Language programme from Years 2 to 6. This is a whole-class approach to English, which teaches reading and writing together. It focusses on the skills and content that we regard as important: vocabulary, accuracy and creativity. The DfE reports that seven of the top ten highest-performing primary schools in England use Read Write Inc. as their English scheme.

Finally, in addition to Read Write Inc., we are also subscribing to a programme called Accelerated Reader which promotes and encourages independent reading in children at Year 2 standard and above. The Education Endowment Foundation did a small-scale trial on its effectiveness, and it is now regarded as a ‘promising project’ because of the positive effect it has on children’s reading achievement. 

Book Chat

Book Chat is the informal interaction that accompanies quality reading to and with children, developing children’s language and comprehension and nurturing a love of reading. The films model this relaxed interaction through the use of open questions, comments and prompts to initiate Book Chat and enable parents and children to share the pleasure of reading together. This is even more important whilst families cope with a post-pandemic world. Please have a look at the appropriate video, below, for your child's age.