The specialism at Harris Primary Academy Philip Lane is Literacy. We chose this as our specialism because we believe that learning to read, write and communicate effectively is extremely important.
There are often Literacy events throughout the year. Some of these involve the whole academy, getting everyone reading and writing together to create an exciting event for all children and staff. This provides an exciting learning opportunity for teachers and pupils. Our pupils also visit the local public library in Tottenham at planned times during the year.
All our children have daily Literacy lessons. This includes reading, writing, spelling and grammar teaching. There are daily opportunities to practice and enjoy reading at Philip Lane including in our structured reading lessons (when all children read independently, as a group or with the teacher every day). Reading occurs at other times of the day too e.g. we strongly promote reading and writing across the curriculum so children have a sense of purpose and can apply their learning.
We actively encourage our parents as partners in their child's learning and our approach to home reading is central to this. Our aim is to make sure all children can read fluently by the time they leave Year 2. Currently we use Read, Write Inc. which is an apporach to Literacy teaching in Reception and Year 1 underpinned by daily, discrete phonics lessons. In the nursery the children have a daily small group phonics session. At this stage, children are tuning into sounds to develop thier phonological awareness. In this context, sessions are play based, often games with emphasis on hearing and saying. We use the Letters and Sounds Programme (Department of Educaton) to underpin planning for this provision in Nursery.
We teach all our children to become effective communicators, working with them on their speaking skills in a range of contexts so that they can express themselves with clarity and confidence. Our staff value the importance of speech and language development and are supported to articulate clearly with close attention to accurate grammar and pronounciation in speech at all times od the school day.
We take great pride in presentation and see handwriting as a vital component of literacy. Our aim is for all pupils to have developed an automatic, joined style by the time they enter Year 5.
At HPAPL grammar teaching is a core element of our Literacy curriculum. There is a range of compelling evidence to support the teaching of modern grammar for writing, recently summarised in a report by The Exeter Grammar for Writing Project, December 2010. The characteristics of spoken language are very different from written language. Writing needs to be more concise and explicit, whereas spoken language often relies on context, facial expression, intonation and pause and gesture to convey meaning and create effect. As part of grammar study, it is important that children learn the conventions of Standard English so that they can adopt an appropriate level of formality in their writing appropriate to audience and purpose.
Our website calendar regularly publishes dates for parent and family workshops that are designed to enable support at home.