Reading and Writing
Curriculum documents for ‘Reading and Writing’ and ‘Functional English’ inform pupil learning maps. These documents are progressive and were written using research and evidence from a range of sources such as the Read Write Inc Phonics Programme, colourful semantics and sensory stories. The Functional English curriculum was written in collaboration with the Occupational Therapist.
Literacy teaching will have a different emphasis according to the pupil’s age and reading and writing ability. For students at the earliest stages of reading and writing and those getting ready for more formal phonics lessons there is likely to be more focus on listening skills, sound play and messy mark making. At Drumbeat the teaching of reading uses phonics at its core and many pupils follow the Read Write Inc: Phonics Programme. Once pupils have completed this they move on to Read Write Inc: Comprehension, Once children consistently read accurately, fluently and can make plausible inferences from a text they have the skills to access Read Write Inc: Literacy and Language.
Alongside core reading and writing skills Drumbeat focuses on functional English skills. This area of the curriculum looks at meaningful skill development alongside applying core skills to ensure outcomes impact pupil’s life outcomes. The Functional English scheme enriches the Reading and Writing curriculum to provide all pupils at Drumbeat the opportunity to apply and generalise meaningful reading and writing skills to all areas of the curriculum and life beyond Drumbeat. For some pupils it offers, alternative reading and writing strategies that may be more appropriate or useful e.g. learning to read symbols within the environment and community (toilet doors or bus stops) or typing. Functional English also looks at the literacy skills required as our students enter adulthood and careers e.g. reading a TV schedule or filling out a form.
In KS4 pupils move onto accreditations including AQA entry levels awards and Pearson Edexcel for their English learning areas and in KS5 pupils move onto ASDAN accreditation. These qualifications place emphasis on developing relevant skills for future life and the functional application of literacy skills. For example as part of an AQA English unit award students could be developing site vocabulary reading skills and using these to read instructions to cook a simple snack. Consequently, there is less focus on decoding and spelling skill for our students gaining these qualifications.
Literacy teaching across the school can include a range of strategies and interventions, which are detailed in the reading and writing handbook.