All Year 1 children achieved a 100% success rate in the National Phonic Screening Check at Newton Tony CE Primary School.

Phonics is a method for teaching writing and reading skills which develops learners’ ability to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes (sounds).

Year 1 Phonic activities are traditionally taught inside a classroom, but the school has achieved great results with their outdoor enrichment learning.

Head teacher Miss Sheena Priestley attributes the success to providing opportunities for children to access a multi-sensory outdoor learning environment alongside traditional classroom teaching.

“Our teachers enrich, reinforce and extend the children’s phonic learning through outdoor experiences,” Miss Priestley said.

The school has a variety of multi-sensory areas, including bark and pebble and a sand pit for phonics activities. Children have hands-on experiences to embed their learning, such as digging for letters in the sand pit or using their sounds to write recipes in their ‘mud’ kitchen.

Miss Priestley said: “We encourage Year 1 to access learning outside, it’s a unique way to provide choice. We mirror the learning opportunities from our indoor classroom to our outdoor environment, meeting the needs of all our children.”

The schools outdoor learning environment proved to be money well spent, as phonics results were well-received by parents.

“Our children are happy, successful learners and I am proud of our achievements.”

“In 2018, our Year 1 children achieved 100% success rate in the National Phonic Screening Check. Every child benefited from participating in daily phonics booster sessions which contributed to our fantastic results. We also reinforced phonics through fun activities in our outside learning environment.”

In 2018, the school had 15 pupils in the Year 1 Phonic Screening Check.

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