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7th October 2015 - Catch Up Literacy and the new Primary Curriculum

Catch Up Literacy in the new national curriculum

Since the introduction of the 2014 primary curriculum, some schools have been asking what will be different in Catch Up® Literacy to reflect the changes. The answer is easy – not a lot!

There is nothing crucial in the new curriculum that isn’t matched to the pedagogy of Catch Up® Literacy but there are a few places in the curriculum where the emphasis has shifted slightly, and it makes sense to see how that affects Catch Up® Literacy.

In the new curriculum, there is more emphasis on phonics in Key Stage 2. The statutory requirements for Years 3 & 4 state:

‘Pupils who are still struggling to decode need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they can catch up with rapidly with their peers.’

(Exactly the same statement appears in the Year 5 & 6 statutory requirements)

This suggests it might be appropriate to concentrate on the ‘phonic focus’ in the 6 minutes of linked writing of the Catch Up® Literacy session, particularly for pupils who are still working at Phases 3 – 6 of Phonic Progression.

There is a greater focus on comprehension in the revised curriculum but, fortunately, Catch Up® Literacy has all aspects of comprehension covered. Prepared reading in the first 3 minutes of the 15-minute one-to-one session ensures that comprehension is at the heart of the reading process and learners are ‘tuned in’ to the meaning of the text before they start reading independently. Then the questions the supporting adult asks the learner after independent reading give the learner practice in answering literal, inferential and personal response comprehension questions.

It has probably not escaped your notice that there is more grammar in the new curriculum (a lot more!) and grammar tests both for Years 2 and 6. Catch Up® Literacy supports grammar taught elsewhere in the curriculum, as at the end of the 6 minutes of linked writing, the learner practises writing a complete sentence (including the focus word). This practice of sentence writing (including sentence punctuation) can be invaluable reinforcement.

The new curriculum has raised the bar regarding spelling but luckily, in every Catch Up® session, learners get the chance to practise spelling the most useful words they will need for the rest of the curriculum. And importantly, learners are not only taught specific words either through phonic segmenting and blending or by visualizing techniques but they are also taught strategies for learning spellings they can apply back in the classroom.

So what small tweaks do we intend to make to ensure Catch Up® matches the revised curriculum?
1. We will be removing any reference to National Curriculum levels in our training and files.
2. We are going to include synthetic phonics books in the online booklist.
3. We are going to include more information in the ‘Text characteristics’ outlined in the trainee file. This will match a Phonic Phase for each Catch Up® Literacy level.

Watch this space!!

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