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Great Missenden Church of England Combined School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Phonics Screening Information

A Guide to the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check 


The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check was introduced in 2012 as part of a Government policy to strengthen phonics teaching in Primary Schools and reflect the emphasis on teaching Phonics systematically and synthetically. 


Systematically - starting with the letters of the alphabet and building up to more complex combinations of letters making one sound
Synthetically - breaking up words into their smallest units of sound and then blending these sounds together to read words.


What does the check involve? 

During the screening check, children will be asked to read a list of 40 words to check their grapheme recognition and decoding skills. The words are made up of real words and non-words.


Why do children need to read non-words?

Reading non-words acts as a useful tool to check whether children are secure in their phonic knowledge and can apply this knowledge when reading any word (either real or made up). They check if children are using their decoding skills rather than relying on memorising the words. These types of words will be highlighted on the word list with a picture of an alien so children realise they do not have to try and make it a real word.


How will the check be administered? 

The check will normally be administered by a familiar adult in a familiar environment and usually takes less that 10 minutes.


There are 2 sections to the check. 

Section 1: words using graphemes from the earlier phases of Phonics including Phase 3 digraphs and adjacent consonants.

Section 2: words that contain Phase 5 alternative graphemes and split digraphs.


The check will take place the WC 12th June 2023


What happens if a child doesn't pass the check? 

If children don’t achieve the pass score it is nothing to worry about. Teachers will be able to use the results to inform their future phonics planning, fill any gaps in children’s knowledge and potentially offer additional support.

Children that do not pass the check at the end of Year 1 will get another chance and take it again in the summer term of Year 2.


How can you help your child to prepare? 

Scan this QR code to access a list of real and non-real words on your smartphone or tablet. Practise them with your child regularly.

  • Share decodable books together and encourage them to segment and blend the words.

  • Play fun and practical games where they are asked to read real and non-words.