This section is devoted to information on the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check, and the following on phonics phases.

The information is useful for all parents to know.

Year 1 Phonics Check

The Government are introducing a Year 1 'Phonics Screening Check' to ascertain children's attainment in reading phonetically by the end of Year 1. The check consists of 40 words, 20 of them are known words (of which 40-60% are words that are likely to be outside a 6 year old's vocabulary) and 20 'nonsense' words that need to be sounded out by the child.

A sample of what the check will look like is shown here.

It is set at Phonics Phase 5 (see below). The 'pass' mark has not been announced yet but will be at least at 31 out of 40! In the national trial the majority of 6 year olds did not pass. The check will take place in the week beginning the 10th June. The results will be included in the Year 1 end of year report.

It is very important that the check is not seen as a 'test' and that children are not seen as 'failing' if they do not meet the high pass mark. The school will ensure that those that do not reach the required level receive extra support and it will also help you focus support for their learning at home over the summer holiday in readiness for year 2.

Year 1 Phonics Phases

You may remember there was a booklet about Phonics issued as a supplement to the September newsletter entitled 'Letters and Sounds - Phonics Information for Parents and Carers'. With the increased emphasis on phonics teaching from Government as the vehicle to ensure children are reading by the end of year 1 it is well worth re-reading this booklet. Copies of this document are available on our web site in the 'Parental Guidance' section or are available from the School office on request.

The purpose of these next two pages is to summarise parts of that booklet and enable you to check your child's phonetic knowledge at home and support them in their phonics learning.

The teaching structure for phonics runs over 6 phases - these are summarised below with approximate timings and age expectations. Please note that a 'phoneme' is the sound of the letters and a 'grapheme' is what they look like written down.

Below are assessment sheets that can be used to support your child. They are assessed at school and work is targeted to help them develop their phonetic knowledge. This work may be ongoing well into the upper end of Key Stage 2 for some children so don't worry too much if your child is not at the stage you think they should be yet as children develop their reading at different speeds.

With all the increased focus on phonics and at such a fast pace it is important to also understand that children will only read when they are ready and that there phonics alone will not produce fluent readers. There are many other strategies to help children read that we deploy in school and that you can do at home such as sharing reading every day. It is of the utmost importance that children do not feel pressurised or stressed if they cannot grasp these aspects of reading straight away - to become a lifelong reader that gains great enjoyment from reading then reading needs to be seen as a pleasure not a chore.