Literacy is the key to all learning
At Rydal Penrhos Prep School, every pupil is encouraged to read for pleasure and to write with precision and fluency. Reading is an integral part of the timetable and is supported by class reward systems and a dedicated library.
Children are exposed to and encouraged to read a wide range of different texts, both fiction and non-fiction. We take reading seriously and provide a wide range of class book sets to challenge and excite our pupils and further develop their reading and comprehension skills.
In terms of writing, as a school we have adopted Ros Wilson’s Big Writing model. This provides the school with a comprehensive model that helps ensure both teachers and children know what they can do well, and helps to identify any gaps accurately to inform the next steps in teaching and learning.
The approach makes writing purposeful and fun, whilst at the same time it seeks high expectations for all pupils. Underpinning the whole programme is a rigorous focus on achieving accurate basic skills in spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting.
Confidence in communication is considered vital and pupils are actively encouraged to develop their skills through speech and drama competitions, public speaking and through taking part in our ambitious drama productions.
For the initial development of reading and writing skills, the Pre Prep Department employs the ‘Read Write Inc’ Literacy scheme. As the name suggests, this encompasses both reading and writing and uses a series of graded reading books, each linked to and emphasising a particular sound. The reading books have associated writing tasks which help the children to practise spelling the pertinent sound as well as other relevant words, and these spelling patterns become increasingly non-phonetic as the scheme progresses. Included in the writing tasks are graded punctuation and grammar activities.
The Prep Department, teachers utilise Hamilton Trust plans, since the layout allows us to see and track progression in composition, comprehension and grammar, according to National Curriculum headings through each unit. Ultimately teachers use the plans as a guideline and starting point for their own planning, often adding their own ideas to allow for teaching autonomy.
Schemes of work are based on the Welsh Government’s Curriculum for Wales - Programme of Study for English, and also the National Curriculum framework as set out by the DFE for England. These documents provide comprehensive set of guidelines and expectations for pupils’ learning at different stages in their education and help to ensure continuity and progression, whilst still allowing for teaching autonomy and endless possibilities for a diverse range of learning experiences.