E-newsletter 56

Grendon Newsletter
  E-newsletter #56 Friday 18th September 2020  
  Hello Visitor,

A New, Whole School Approach To Spelling & Phonics 

At Grendon CE Primary School, we encourage our pupils to think and write creatively, be adventurous with their use of language and write with clear intent and for pleasure. Children have amazing opportunities within the Global Curriculum to read widely across different subjects and write with purpose across a range of genres. In order for this to happen, it is essential that pupils learn the fundamental building blocks of accurate spelling. 

School performance data for EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 shows that Grendon performs very favourably when compared to local and national results. Nevertheless, the school has identified a significant disparity between the accuracy of spellings recorded in weekly spelling tests and their subsequent use in children's written work. In other words, children are extremely good overall at learning a set list of words for the purposes of a test but are generally less accurate when applying these later on in their written work.

As part of a review of children's acquisition of phonics and spelling, led by Miss Jenkinson, the school is implementing a new, whole school approach which shifts the focus away from testing, places a far greater emphasis on the the quality of spellings within children's independent work and prioritises the systematic teaching of spelling rules and patterns across all phases of the school. 

The new Phonics & Spelling Policy is attached here and has the following key principles: 

  • spelling should be taught systematically in all phases of the school
  • children’s acquisition of phonic/spelling knowledge should be sequenced within an agreed framework with clearly defined end points
  • Pupils should follow a structured phonics scheme in Key Stage 1, followed by the systematic teaching of spelling rules, patterns and strategies in Key Stage 2
  • Pupils should routinely apply their knowledge of spelling strategies in independent written work across the curriculum so that their work is fluent and accurate and includes adventurous vocabulary choices
  • Children’s independence should be fostered by equipping them with strategies to tackle unknown words independently

The most immediate part of this new approach that you will notice is that weekly spelling tests will no longer take place. Instead, comprehensive termly assessments (already underway) across the whole school will provide us with a clear picture of individual pupils' ability. Pupils will work through their own, individual assessment booklets and these working documents will accompany them throughout their time in our setting. Copies of the assessment booklets can be found here:

Phonics Phases 1-5 & Year 1 Spelling Patterns: Assessment Booklet

Years 2-6 Spelling patterns: Assessment Booklet 

Based on the outcomes of the termly assessments, the subsequent, systematic teaching of spelling patterns will be accurately matched to the ability of your child.

Examples of children being able to apply spelling strategies in their written work will be celebrated in much the same way as spelling test results are now and it is the school's expectation that this will promote improved accuracy within children's work. The accurate spellings that children demonstrate in their written work will be recorded on their individual assessment booklet which in turn will be shared with you via the children's Pupil Profiles (which will be issued at the end of the Autumn Term). By half term, class teachers hope to share your child's current spelling rule/pattern in the back of their Home Learning Books so that you can support them at home.

It would be a huge misconception to think that the removal of weekly spelling tests means that school is spending less time on phonics and spellings overall - the school is simply approaching this very important aspect of education in a more dynamic and personalised way.

Please do take some time to read the Phonics & Spelling Policy available via the link in this newsletter and also under 'Policies' in the School Information section of the school website. You may also want to familiarise yourselves with the content and progression within the assessment booklets (links above). 

Contacting School

Despite your vastly reduced access to our buildings, the school is very keen to maintain helpful dialogue with you all and respond to any queries or concerns that you may have. As always, your child's class teacher and I will be very happy to respond to any questions relating to any aspect of your child's education. Contact details are:

John Wayland  

Miss Hillman  

Miss Jenkinson  

Miss Steed  

Mrs Gookey   

Mrs French  

Welcome Back, Pepper!

pep bowtieThe general feeling around the absence of our school dog, Pepper, was captured perfectly this week by a Reception pupil.

'Where's the dog?'

'There are some dogs over with there with the other toy animals.'

'No, the real dog.'

'Ohhh, well, she hasn't been able to come back yet.'

'(Humph) The dog is the only reason I came to this school.' 

As you can see, Pepper has been pulling out all the stops to come back and I am delighted to report that she will be returning to school not next week but the week after. Whilst Pepper's movements around school will be limited (along with one or two minor modificaitons to her risk assessment), we are so pleased that she will be able to spend time in each of our 4 bubbles.



  Grendon Church Of England Primary School
Main Road
Tel: 01933 663208