Phonics is taught through a highly structured approach of daily lessons across the school. In order to meet the needs of all the children, teaching is often in groups differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development.
The Letters and Sound scheme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learned.
Phases of the Phonics
Progress is tracked at the end of each term. As children move through Reception they are introduced to Phase 2 which marks the start of systematic phonic work. Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is introduced. The process of segmenting whole words and selecting letters to represent those phonemes is taught writing the letters to encode words. Phase 3 completes the teaching of the alphabet and then moves on to cover sounds represented by more than one letter, learning one representation for each of the 44 phonemes. At this stage just one spelling is given for each phoneme. When children become secure they continue into Phase 4 where they start to read and spell words containing adjacent consonants. No new phonemes are introduced at this phase. It is expected that children will enter Phase 5 as they begin year 1, looking at alternative spellings for some phonemes and allowing the children to see the range of ways phonemes can be represented. It is expected that children entering Year 2 will start Phase 6 which develops a variety of spelling strategies including word specific spellings eg see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary.
Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for movement between ability groups and children move phonics group when it is felt necessary to meet their needs. Children are formally assessed at the end of each half term.
The national Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. Prior to this, the Year 1 phonics workshop gives parents information about how they can support their children at home with phonics. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2 with additional support.