Children are initially taught to spell using their phonic knowledge. In Nursery, all children begin Phase 1 in Letters and Sounds and move up the Phonic Phases when they are ready; meaning that some children have their sessions in Reception with older, more able children.
In Reception, children continue working through the Phonic Phases, some reaching Phase 5 (typically Year 1) which is done at a slower pace to suit the needs of the children. This continues into KS1 where an increasing number of our children are working at age related expectations (Year 1 - Phase 5 and Year 2 - Phase 6). We have other systems in place for the children who do not make progress with letters and sounds e.g. Direct Phonics.
Phonics is heavily promoted across EYFS and KS1 in daily discrete sessions but also through the literacy rich learning environment. Appropriate sounds and words (by stage and not age) are displayed and incorporated into all continuous provision areas and classroom learning walls. Current learning in phonics should be reflected in the classroom, whether this is on the literacy working walls or on additional washing line display.
Children are taught daily, as a class and by the teacher. Wherever possible teaching assistants should be used to support whole class teaching and key individuals/groups. If necessary then the TA may need to have their own discrete group if particular children are working well below age related expectations. Ideally, all children should be exposed to age related work in the mornings with additional support given as an intervention in the afternoon.
It is an expectation that planning for daily phonic sessions is in place, whether this is done independently by the class teacher to suit the needs of the class or it may be that a particular scheme/plan done by someone else is followed. This will be monitored by the KS1 Leader or Phonics lead through drop-in observations, to ultimately ensure that the children are working at an appropriate stage and that progress is being made.
Teachers are also expected to keep up-to-date phonic assessments for all children. This may be in the form of tracking sheets for each phonic phase that show how many sounds/words are known. Teachers will choose their own form of record and assessment tracker.
Phonics Screening Check
The National phonics screening check is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a quick and easy check of a child’s phonic knowledge. All year 1 pupils (with the possible exception) will take the phonics screening check in June each year.
The screening check, which comprises of 20 real words and 20 nonsense words, identifies children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of year 1 and who therefore may need additional help. Children that are working towards the current age related pass mark of 32/40 will be required to re‐take the assessment in year 2.
There is a large emphasis on the phonics check in year 1. In addition to daily phonic sessions and to ensure that children are prepared for the check, we provide;
a half termly mock phonic check to show how many words each child can read, which children are on track to pass, key sounds that children are struggling with and identified individuals/groups that need additional support
afternoon interventions; planned by the year 1 teacher and led by a TA to raise the attainment of key groups e.g. the first targeted group will be children who are just working below age related expectations
regular information to parents e.g. phonics check leaflet, home activities etc
tight tracking by the KS1 leader/phonics lead to ensure that all of the above is in place and an impact is being made through smart action planning
Children who still require quality first phonics in KS2 do so in small groups with support from a teaching assistant.