Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across EYFS and KS1. The Letters and Sounds programme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. This is supplemented by Ruth Miskin’s visuals and phrases; also Espresso and Phonics Play.
Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous session, be taught new skills, practise together and apply what they have learned.
Children in Reception begin with Phase 1, which provides a range of listening activities through play, in order to develop their listening skills. Progress is tracked through an ongoing teacher assessment and more formally at the end of each term.
As children move through 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, as well as 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 grapheme (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 homophones (word specific spellings) e.g. see/ sea, spelling of words with prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters where necessary, as well as the accurate spelling of words containing unusual grapheme-phoneme correspondences e.g. laughs, two.
The spelling of high frequency and tricky words are taught continuously throughout the phases.
Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow planning for any specific gaps and additional interventions, as well as to ensure that there is sufficient challenge available for more confident learners.
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 do not meet the required standard for the check in year 1 enter again in year 2. Additional support is put in place.
Children make rapid progress from their starting points in reading and writing. Our Phonics check results are higher than that of Bromley and the national average.