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St Jude's School and Pre-School

Achieving together in God's love.



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"A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them." (National Curriculum) 


Communication is key and one that starts the moment a child is born.  Looking into a new-born's eyes; watching them follow you and respond to your smile is magical and is the beginning of that child's world of communication.  They will mimic your facial expressions, respond to your voice and pick up on your emotions.  Babies and pre-school children absorb this information from their parents, family and care-givers in the home environment before they enter school.  

Being able to communicate clearly and effectively appears to be a natural consequence of being spoken to, but to be able to clearly articulate emotions, ideas and opinions, and engage in discussions about literature, mathematics, science or the arts requires a range of skills. 

It is our intent that these skills will be nurtured within every child in our care by the expert and direct teaching of all our staff; and, combined with the vast array of opportunities open to your child at St Jude’s, it is our desire that when their learning journey at our school is over, your child will be able to communicate, both verbally and by the written word, with the assurance of a well-informed mind, with a precision of word choice that is indicative of a rich and well-developed vocabulary and with an appreciation for the form and structure required by the audience and which fulfils the purpose.  


Phonics and Early reading 

We teach early reading through a phonics programme called Little Wandle. This is a progressive phonics programme that follows the children from Reception upwards. In Reception, the children are taught all of the phase 2 and 3 graphemes (letter when written) and their corresponding phonemes (sound when spoken). They are taught how to blend these sounds together to be able to read a whole word. They are also taught how to read ‘Tricky Words’ (words that do not sound out) by learning which part of the word is tricky and why. Once the children have learnt how to segment (pull apart) and blend (put back together) words, we support them in developing their fluency, comprehension and expression when reading. Later in the year, they begin to read Phase 4 words, which contain all of the graphemes they have been taught, words such as: stair, free, slight, sleep, screech, street.

In Year One, children are taught the Phase 5 graphemes and corresponding phonemes. At this stage, the children are taught the alternative pronunciations for each grapheme. For example, knowing that oo makes a different sound in both look and moon. Again, children’s fluency is a priority, with comprehension and expression being built into each week’s reading sessions.

Across the week, in small groups, the children will read the same book three times with a highly-trained adult. The book is matched exactly to their phonics ability and reading level. The three sessions are made up of the following key elements: de-coding, prosody and comprehension. The children will read the entire book every session. This book will then be sent home after the three reads are complete with the expectation that the child will read it to their parent/carer at home using fluency and expression.  This will support the child’s developing comprehension.

If children in Reception and Year One are finding it difficult to master the programme, they are given daily additional 1:1 or small group phonics sessions to plug any gaps within their phonics knowledge. They are then reassessed every three weeks to ensure they are making progress and keeping up with the scheme.

For Year Two children who have been assessed as having gaps in their phonic knowledge, or for those who are not fluent readers, we provide daily rapid catch up to ensure they make the appropriate progress.  They will be assessed every three weeks. 

Once the children have completed the phonics programme and they are fluent readers, they come off the scheme and become ‘free readers’, which means that the texts they will be accessing are not limited to those within the phonics programme.



Reading is a combination of two skills:

Decoding - being able to read the letters on the page 

Understanding - reading for meaning using all the clues punctuation and grammar give the reader.

Throughout the school day, and not only confined to the teaching of English, teachers will provide a variety of opportunities for children to practise decoding and understanding through whole class reading, shared reading, guided reading and 1:1. At all times, vocabulary and meaning is explicitly unpicked and discussed which allows the children to develop their understanding.  High quality texts are selected to ensure the children are exposed to a rich and varied diet of vocabulary and high level sentence structure, grammar and punctuation.  This enables teachers to highlight how the author has manipulated the reader or described a character or scene in such a way as they become 'visible'.  

Occasionally, a child, or a group of children will require support at a more personalised level and we offer a range of interventions which are delivered by our well-trained staff. 



At St Jude's, the children are given an authentic purpose for writing.  The class teacher will skilfully impart the skills and knowledge required for the children to communicate thoughts, ideas, arguments and information using age-appropriate grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.  Through a range of genres, children will be taught to understand that the craft of writing requires critical and precise editing, and that takes time.  The staff in each class will give each child time on a 1:1 basis throughout the week to guide them towards the improvements that are needed for the target audience.  This could include advice about word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, description and tone.  Children are given more time to practise that advice independently.  Eventually, the children learn to edit critically and to appreciate that the writing is for the intended reader, not necessarily for themselves. 



The children are taught the Kinetic Letters style of handwriting.