Year 1 National Phonics Screening Test

A young boy is shown wearing his academy uniform, standing reading a book in a corridor.

Dear Parents/Carers,

I am writing to invite you to a meeting which will be held on Monday 27th February 2023, at 2.30pm. This meeting is held to inform you about the National Phonics Screening Test which will take place in Key Stage 1 during the week beginning Monday 12th June 2023. This meeting aims to explain this process, in addition to providing you with ideas to help your child with phonics at home.

Who takes the test?

All children in Year 1 as it is a statutory requirement from the government to do so. In addition, any child in Year 2 who did not reach the required level when they took the test in Year 1 will take the test again in Year 2. If for any reason, we feel that there is a valid reason why your child should not take the test in Year 1, the class teacher will discuss this with you. Please note, this is only done in exceptional circumstances and your child would still be eligible to take the retake when they are in Year 2.

What is the phonics screening check?

As you may have already heard, the government introduced an annual phonics screening check. This will further inform our continual assessment of the children’s phonic knowledge and the results of the check will be shared with parents/carers in the end of year report. It comprises of a list of 40 words that children read one-to-one with a teacher. The list is a combination of both real and made up, non-words (alien words) which rely purely on using phonics to decode. The non-words/alien are words that have been made up and will be shown with a picture of an imaginary creature to help them. The phonics screening check will take place on a one to one basis with the class teacher but the children will largely be unaware of it being a test and have already participated in some practice ones.

After the check we will tell you about your child’s progress in phonics and how he or she has done in the screening check as part of the end of year report. We will identify this with whether they either passed the check or whether they will need to retake the check in Year 2. In previous years, the pass mark for the test has been that they have to read 32 words correctly out of 40 and we do not think that this will change but the government does review it each year. If your child has found the check difficult, we will also tell you what support we have put in place to help him or her improve as they move into Year 2.

You might like to ask your child’s class teacher how you can support your child to take the next step in reading. All children are individuals and develop at different rates. The screening check ensures that teachers understand which children need extra help with phonic decoding.

Helping your child with phonics works best when children are given plenty of encouragement and learn to enjoy reading and books. Parents play a very important part in helping with this. Some simple steps to help your child learn to read through phonics:

  • Step 1 – identify any diagraphs (children are allowed to underline the sounds)
  • Step 2 – say the sounds (say each sound separately)
  • Step 3 – read the word (blend sounds together)

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Miss Goldfinch (Phonics Lead). If you are not able to attend but would like some more information then please contact the academy office so we can send some more information home.

Kind Regards,

Mrs Elliot & Miss Goldfinch (Phonics Lead)
Year 1 & Year 2 Class Teachers