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English (Phonics and Spelling)

Phonics in EYFS and Key Stage One


Synthetic phonics teaching (following the Letters and Sounds scheme of work) is taught on a daily basis in EYFS and Key Stage One to support reading and writing. The definition of ‘synthetic phonics’ is an accelerated form of phonics where children are taught all letter sounds very quickly after starting school. This method of teaching continues throughout Key Stage One where children continue to extend their learning to using digraphs and trigraphs. Pupils are taught phonics through isolated sessions, but phonics also forms part of all English and Topic lessons, supporting children’s reading and writing.The Year One Phonics Screening Check takes place in June, and children who have not yet met the required standards continue phonics beyond this.  Additional teaching is facilitated where required for individuals or small groups.


There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for practitioners and teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.



Phonic Knowledge and Skills

Phase One(Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two(Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.

Phase Four(Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five(Throughout Year 1) Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six(Throughout Year 2 and beyond) Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.




Spelling is taught discretely in Year Two and across Key Stage Two following the ‘No-nonsense Spelling’ programme from Babcock.  During these sessions, children look at spelling patterns, rules and high frequency words. Teachers track children’s progress against the year group CEWs (Common Exception Words).

Throughout all written work, children are taught to proof read for errors, use dictionaries to support their spelling, develop mnemonics for aiding memory and learn about how to use etymology (the understanding of the origin of words) to help with spelling. We also use home spelling lists, spelling tests, word banks, spelling mats and other resources to support the correct application of spelling. Additional teaching is facilitated where required for individuals or small groups.

For the Phonics and Spelling Policies, please see the relevant sections of the English Policy.