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English (Phonics and Spelling)

Phonics Intent

Phonics Implementation in EYFS & KS1

At Featherbank, our Synthetic Phonics Programme follows Letters and Sounds and uses Bug Club Phonics for decodable materials and resources. We have tailored the scheme with our own resources for flashcards, friezes and sound mats and have a comprehensive week by week long term plan.

Synthetic phonics teaching 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, but children who have not yet met the required standards continue phonics beyond this. Additional teaching is facilitated where required for individuals or small groups.

The Featherbank Phonics approach includes a regular and robust assessment cycle which informs immediate and longer term interventions as well as weekly guided reading sessions, ensuring children are practiced in using their phonic skills to read sentences.

Children who are not making expected progress are given additional practice, immediately, through catch-up sessions through the week. New teaching occurs on Monday to Thursday. Friday is an assessment and revision lesson containing more reading and writing using the skills taught through the week.

A lesson:

Each lesson at Featherbank follows the four part lesson structure set out by Letters and Sounds.

Within each lesson part, there is a set sequence of activities that the children follow.



  • Alphabet Arch – the children say the letter names.
  • Current set of GPC flashcards, tricky words and decodable HFWs (alternate between reading or writing the graphemes/words).


  • Practise reading and spelling words with previously taught grapheme.


  • Read or write a new ‘Tricky Word’.
  • New phoneme / grapheme or spelling rule through the following teaching sequence:
    • Hear it: the children will be read to or play a game involving listening to a series of words containing a specific phoneme; they try to identify the phoneme. (TPS)
    • See it: See words with the grapheme.
    • Discuss it: TPS what can they see in each word. (TPS)
    • Write it: practise writing the new grapheme.


Oral blending: Teacher will say 3 – 5 words for Oral blending.

Blending for reading: Following a ‘my turn’, ‘our turn’, ‘your turn’ sequence, the children will blend phonemes to read words.

Segmenting for spelling: Following a ‘my turn’, ‘our turn’, ‘your turn’ sequence the children will segment words into phonemes which they will spell with graphemes.


At tables, children will sit in chairs with pencils to complete an ‘apply’ activity which will have reading and writing opportunities.

Application opportunities are always available in both inside and outside learning environments.

Further Application

Every week the children will have the following application opportunities:

  • Every child is heard reading a phonetically decodable book
  • Phonic specific activity available in provision
  • Sound mats and phonic support available in all areas of learning
  • Writing resources and opportunities available in all areas of provision.
  • 3 guided reading lessons.


Please see the attached Featherbanks Phonics Progression for exact week by week progression of teaching.

Phonics is taught over six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for practitioners and teachers: 


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.


At Featherbank the children in Reception and Year One have decodable guided reading sessions three times a week. Each session has a clear objective: The 3 lesson cycle focuses on either decoding, oracy or comprehension. Each group is matched to the children's current GPC level and the children are moved to the next set as soon as they are able. The children read decodable Bug Club books. After the 3 day cycle of in-class guided reading, these books are sent home for daily reading.

Every child is heard reading in addition to these sessions at least once per week by their class teacher.

Phonics in Year 2 and Key Stage 2

In Year Two, Phase 6 Phonics is taught through the Babcock No Nonsense spelling programme. At Featherbank we have structured the Year Two lessons to incorporate the same lesson stucture from EYFS and Year One. The lessons incorporate the revisit / review elements of the 4 part teaching structure. This ensures that the children continue to embed their ability to automatically recall GPCs.

In Key Stage 2, children who require continued Phonic lessons receive these through targeted small group lessons delivered once weekly by the Phonics Lead with daily decoding practice as part of the children's daily intervention support.


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. 

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 and morphology 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.

Key Stage 2

In Years  2 to 6, all children are closely monitored with regard to their reading and spelling ablity with phonetic skill at the core. Any child who is unable to read at the expcted standard will be supported by the Phonics Lead. The children's spelling and reading skills are assessed to identify the specific areas of difficulty. Targetted support is then put in place and delivered in small weekly groups with daily recap sessions delivered by learning support.

All children who have been assessed as requiring continued phonic support are assessed in line with the Key Stage 1 and EYFS assessment procedures as above.