Phonics screening

During the week of 18th June, all Year 1 pupils across England will take the first ever phonics screening check. This standard assessment in schools is intended to check children are on track with learning to read.

To help parents understand phonics and provide the best support at home in the lead up to the test, Oxford University Press is holding a week-long live “Ask the Expert” session on Facebook with phonics expert Laura Sharp.

Laura Sharp has thirty years of experience in primary education in London and the South East including senior leadership roles. Her most recent role was a five year period with the National Strategies as a Senior Adviser where she worked on the highly acclaimed Communication, Language and Literacy Development (CLLD) Programme; planning and delivering high quality CPD and materials in order to support LAs, ITT, teachers and practitioners improve language and literacy outcomes for all children

Laura will host the sessions at between the hours of 7pm and 10pm from Monday 21st to Friday 25th May.

Parents are invited to “Ask the Expert” by posting questions to the Facebook group at any time of day and to follow the conversation live.

This Facebook "Ask the Expert" session is the second part of a parental support campaign that started with the launch of My Phonics Kit, an activity pack for parents to use with their Year 1 child, which features familiar characters Biff, Chip and Kipper from the Oxford Reading Tree scheme used in 80% of primary schools. It combines phonics decoding practice with engaging stories and interactive features,making learning to read a fun and exciting journey. Parents can also visit for phonics resources and advice such as videos from Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson, and a range of interactive free eBooks.


My Phonics Kit is available to buy on the high-street and online (RRP £9.99)

Information from the Department of Education

The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support by their school to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check so that schools can track pupils until they are able to decode.

The screening check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which a child will read one-to-one with a teacher. Find out more about the type of words and non-words that may be used.

Half the words cover phonics skills which tend to be covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.

Schools’ results will not be published, although schools will have to tell parents their child’s results.

A leaflet that explains the phonics screening check to parents is available to download here.

For more information on the Governments phonics screening check, please visit the Department for Education's website:

What do you think of this screening?  Good idea or another unnecessary test for young children.  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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