Year 1 Phonics Check
What is the Phonics Screening Check?
Children in Year 1 throughout the country will all take part in a phonics screening check during the same week in June. Children in Year 2 will also take the check if they did not achieve the required result in Year 1 or if they have not taken the test before.
The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding and blending skills to an appropriate standard. It will check that your 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 Happens During the Screening?
The test contains 40 words. Each child will sit one-to-one and read each word aloud to a teacher that they are familiar with. The test will take approximately 10 minutes per child, although all children are different and will complete the check at their own pace. The list of words the children read is a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words).
Pseudo Words (Nonsense Words)
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This provides the children with a context for the pseudo word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Pseudo words are included because they will be new to all pupils; they do not favour children with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words.
Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing but checking that appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, additional, tailored support will be put in place 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.
Reporting to Parents
By the end of the summer term all schools must report each child’s results to parents. Children who do not achieve the expected level will retake the test when they are in Year 2.