Year 1 Phonics Screening
All children in Year 1 will take the phonics screening check usually during the second week in June each
What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check will be taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.
What is in the phonics screening check?
There are two sections in this 40-word check and it will assess phonics skills and knowledge learned in Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.
What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?
It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child's level of skills. There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.
What will it check?
It will check that you child can:
Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo-words.
What are nonsense and pseudo-words and why are they included?
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo-words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decodable a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo-words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of alien it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent of any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to read it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing, but checking appropriate progress in being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.
What happens to the results?
We will inform you of your child's results as part of their annual report at the end of the summer term. We also report them to the Local Authority (Norfolk) but the results won't be published in a league table as with SATs.
Do all schools and children have to participate?
All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school. There is a process in place for reviewing children with special educational needs, so if your child's teacher thinks there are very special reasons related to your child and their needs that make them think the phonics screening check may not be appropriate, they will decide on the appropriate action and discuss this with you.
What can I do to help my child?
Check with your child's teacher if there are any particular areas that you should focus on at home so that you are working together to support your child.