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Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across FS/KS1 and KS2 in groups differentiated according to children’s phonic awareness and development. The Letters and Sound programme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. This is supplemented by Floppy Phonics, Songbird Phonics, Big cat Collins, Espresso and other ICT games.

Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practise together and apply what they have learned.


Phases of the Phonics Programme

Children in Nursery begin with Phase 1 of Letters and Sounds concentrates on developing children's speaking and listening skills and lays the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills.

Phase 1 is divided into seven aspects. Each aspect contains three strands: Tuning in to sounds (auditory discrimination), Listening and remembering sounds (auditory memory and sequencing) and Talking about sounds (developing vocabulary and language comprehension).


As children move into Reception they continue to build upon the listening activities and 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, broadening their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations for these and graphemes they already know, where relevant. 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. Also the accurate spelling of words containing unusual GPC's eg laughs, two.

The school spelling programs complement the phonics learning from Reception through to the end of KS2. The spelling of high frequency and tricky words are taught continuously throughout the phases.


How Phonics is taught 

From EYFS to Year 2, Phonics is taught in a whole class,  discrete, 30 minute, daily sessions. The Letters and Sounds document is used as a scheme for planning and delivery. Children's phonics knowledge is tracked from Nursery on a school pro forma. 

Children access reading books which complement the phonics they are learning and are encouraged to use a range of decoding strategies from an Early age. These reading books follow Oxford Reading Tree Floppy's Phonics, Songbirds and the Big Cat Collins. 


Decoding Strategies:

1. Phonics- blending and segmenting 

2.- Word recognition- breaking up the word, looking for words within words

3.- context- using pictures/ diagrams: using understanding about the topic

4.- Grammatical- using punctuation; known prefixes and suffixes



Phonics Assessment

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 term.

The National Phonics screening check is performed in June of Year 1. 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. As children enter KS2 provision is made for those children still requiring daily phonics, through interventions.

To have a consistency approach throughout Phonics at Holly Grove we follow the same scheme throughout the school, ensuring spellings are taught through decoding the phonemes in each word. 


Due to COVID, it meant this year the current Year 2's did not take part in the phonics check. Children will be taking this test using an old check paper in Autumn 2.


The current Year 1 children will take their phonics check in June 2021. 


This Year, we have purchased decodable books throughout Early Years and KS1 to ensure that every book that is sent home with a child is 95% decodable in order for the child to enjoy reading that story with their grown ups. Books will only contain the graphemes that children have learnt. Throughout the school we use the Letters and Sounds programme which is followed throughout the school and no other schemes are used in conjunction with this. 




Grapheme Chart used for Phase 2 and 3

Vocabulary children learn in phonics