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Phonics and Spelling

Phonics in EYFS & Key Stage 1

In EYFS and Key Stage 1, phonics is taught daily through 'Letters & Sounds', which is a six-phase teaching programme.

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.


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 in Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2, the high quality phonics teaching is built upon through 'Babcock - No Nonsense Spelling', which is a complete spelling programme designed to meet the needs of the new National Curriculum in a manageable way.

The No Nonsense Spelling programme provides pupils with a range of spelling patterns and strategies, enabling them to apply these across the curriculum more effectively as they become independent spellers. It includes teaching pupils to proofread and edit with purpose, and it provides a perfect example of what the Education Endowment Fund research* suggests: “Spelling should be explicitly taught. Teaching should focus on spellings that are relevant to the topic or genre being studied.” 

Spelling pathways for each year group