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Children in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage One (KS1) are taught phonics using the DfES Letters and Sounds programme. Letters and Sounds is a six phase, systematic synthetic phonics programme which is designed to help children become fluent readers. It focuses on daily high-quality teaching of phonics which teaches children the correspondences between letters, in written language, and sounds, in spoken language. These correspondences help children to learn to read and spell words.

In daily phonics lessons, children are taught how to:

  • Recognise the sounds that individual letters make
  • Identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make e.g 'sh' or 'igh'
  • Blend these sounds together from left to right to read a word
  • Hear and say each sound in a word in order to segment and write the word.

Phase 1 of the programme is crucial and taught and revisited throughout EYFS. By the end of Reception children are expected to be secure in Phase Three. By the end of Year One children are expected to be secure in Phase Five.  By the end of KS1 (Year 2), we aim for all children to be secure in Phase Six. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns. For those children who are not on track, we provide additional support and intervention.

Phonic check

At the end of Year One, children take a phonic screening check. The check is administered by a KS1 teacher. Children are asked to read 40 real words and 40 pseudo words (we call them alien words to the children). The check is used to assess each child’s ability to read unknown words. If a child does not pass the check we must administer another check at the end of year two. Children who leave KS1 without passing the phonic check will have additional phonics intervention in KS2. 

Useful documents and websites to help you support your child at home:


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