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Y1 Phonics Screening Information

Phonics Screening

There has been a big shift in the past few years in how we teach reading in school. Across Key Stage 1 we use Little Wandle Phonics – Letters and Sounds Revised to teach early reading skills. This programme focuses on fluency (being able to blend words fluently), prosody (reading with intonation and expression) and comprehension (understanding what has been read).

Reading is taught through daily phonics lessons and smaller reading practise groups in Reception and Year 1.


What is the phonics screening check?

The national phonics screening was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete.


Our results for 2022 showed that 97% of pupils at the end of Year 1 gained the required grade in the phonics test. All children who do not reach the required level have additional support to ensure that they are given every opportunity to develop their phonic skills and retake their phonics screening at the end of Year 2. 

When does the Year 1 phonics screening check take place?

All Year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check during a specific week in June.


How is the check structured?

It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which the children know as ‘alien’ or ‘monster’ words. Your child will read one-to-one with their teacher. They will be asked to ‘sound out’ the word and blend the sounds together to read the word. The words will be presented as a booklet with up to 4 words per page. Non-words will be presented with a colourful picture of an alien. The children will be asked what the aliens name is by reading the pseudo word. This will make the check a bit more fun and provides the children with a context for these non-words. They are included because they will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Pupils who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.

Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.


How will the results from the phonics screening check be used?

Schools have to inform parents towards the end of the summer term in Year 1 of their child’s results. At Audley Primary School the results form part of the end of year reporting. All of the children are individuals and develop at different stages. The results of the screening check will assist teachers to identify which children will need further support with decoding.


What happens if a child struggles with the screening check?

The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of Year 1 and who therefore need extra help. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term. We regularly check phonic development within our Little Wandle assessment procedures, this screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure.


How can I help my child?

There are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development.

  • Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself – they are influenced by you and what you value!

  • Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child, take them to the library to choose books and read to them.

  • Make time for your child to read their school books to you regularly – encourage them by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading.

  • Help your child to practise reading key words and sounds when these are sent.

  • Communicate with your child’s teacher through their Home/School reading.

01883 342330
Audley Primary School,
Caterham, Surrey, CR3 5ED