Our main aim is to provide a stimulating curriculum that motivates our pupils to achieve the highest possible standards in all areas of literacy. We have a thorough Literacy Strategy at Irfon Valley which summarises our policy and practice in this area. Our curriculum is based on the Regional Educational Consortium (ERW) Schemes of Work for Literacy.
Great emphasis is placed upon learning to read accurately and with enjoyment. On entry into school children are gradually introduced to our phonics scheme ‘Jolly Phonics’. They then move on to our structured, colour-banded reading system which includes a mixture of different well-know reading schemes together with ‘real books’. This enables us to keep track of children’s progress in reading but we also go to great lengths to encourage children to enjoy reading and to read widely.
We also have ‘Storysacks’ available for families to read and enjoy together. We have produced a separate ‘Irfon Valley Guide to Reading’ which is available via the school website or from the school office. We have an extensive library at Irfon Valley and we use the Powys Libraries to support a wide selection of fiction and non fiction, suitable for all ages and abilities.
We recognise the importance of a good understanding of phonics as an aid to spelling as well as reading. We have recently introduced the Read, Write, Inc programme to support phonics and early spelling. Older children are encouraged to ‘chunk’ longer words into syllables and component phonic units to help them to read and spell.
The development of oracy is promoted through role play and ‘Show and Tell’ in the Early Years. It is further developed through circle time, drama and the many school productions which take place each year. As well as developing the above skills, in KS2, the children take part in presentations, debates and drama.
The teaching of writing is delivered through our daily Communication, Language and Literacy (CLL) and English lessons and within the context of our termly topics and themes across the curriculum, as far as possible. Punctuation and grammar are taught in context and sometimes as discrete lessons. Handwriting and presentational awareness are taught throughout the school as part of a continuous process which culminates in a clear, flowing, legible, cursive style which serves the needs of the pupil as a writer.