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EYFS / KS1 Phonics Strategy


We teach phonics using DFE Letters and Sounds, teaching through the phases as set out in the document. We do not use one specific phonics ‘scheme’ but use Letters and Sounds supported by a wide range of resources to fit the purpose of the session, including the use of

In EYFS children begin Letters and Sounds at the phase in which they enter (mostly Phase 2) and are taught Phase 3.


Delivery of phonics

Phonics is taught in a daily discrete lesson of 20 – 25 minutes. Lessons cover: revisiting and revising previous learning, teaching and practise of new GPC or tricky words and application of phonics within reading or writing words or sentences.

For Phonics, children are taught in small groups. In Year 2, pupils who have met the phonics standard in Year 1 have spelling / grammar lessons based on the new curriculum 2014 expectations. The first term of this programme includes a recap of Phase 5 phonics for reading and spelling.


Intervention for phonics

Children who did not meet the standard in the phonics screening check in Year 1 are given extra phonics intervention sessions. The type of intervention will depend on the needs of the pupils:

  1. 1:1 phonic recognition sessions

  2. Separate phonics lessons

  3. Small groups phonics for reading sessions

  4. Small groups phonics for spelling sessions

Ongoing assessment

Teachers assess pupils’ phonic knowledge using phonic assessment sheets for each phonic phase, these include phoneme recognition and word blending checks. Pupil’s must score at least 80% on each phase assessment in order to show they are secure and therefore ready to move on to the next phase. Teachers then track pupil’s progression in phonics using a tracking grid, which identifies the phase they are in and whether they are ‘on track’. This is updated at least once each term.

Year 2 children who did not pass the screening check will be assessed again at the end of the year. We may also use the previous check to ascertain earlier (ie Christmas or Easter) whether pupils who appear to have made good progress have met the standard, therefore allowing them to move on. However, these pupils will still be retested at the end of Year 2.

Our school targets are:

  • 80% of children in the Foundation Stage to be secure at Phase 3 by the time they leave Reception. (This is in line with the Government target)

  • 85% of children in Year 1 to be secure at Phase 5 by the time they leave Year 1.

  • 95% of children in Year 2 to be secure at Phase 5 by the time they leave Year 2.


Embedding phonics

We aim to embed phonics in all lessons.

Children should be encouraged to ‘have a go’ at using their sounds to spell rather than the teacher scribing the word. Similarly, when reading, children should be encouraged to use their sounds to blend.

Phoneme mats and spelling word mats are displayed and accessible in each classroom to facilitate this.

High frequency and tricky words are also displayed around classrooms to develop independence when spelling.

When modelling reading or writing, teachers should model the use of phonics to help with spelling and decoding.


Reading books

Children have the opportunity to change their reading books twice weekly. As well as reading with a teacher, children also read with other adults. We do not have one scheme of books, but have a range of phonic based texts from a wide range of schemes including:

  1. Phonics bug / Bug club

  2. Songbirds phonics

  3. Big Cat

  4. Oxford reading tree phonics

The books are ‘banded’ and the earlier colours (up to Turquoise) are phonics based books linked to these schemes which follow the order from phase 1-5. There is a mixture of fiction and non-fiction texts at all levels.

Higher level books (purple onwards) have a mixture of texts to develop children as fluent and motivated readers who enjoy reading for pleasure.