At South Failsworth Community Primary School we have a structured approach to the teaching of phonics. Synthetic phonics is planned for following the DFE Letters and Sounds document, which sets out a detailed systematic programme for teaching phonic skills over 6 phases.

In Foundation the teachers also use a program called ‘Jolly Phonics’, to support the delivery of phonics. Jolly phonics uses a visual, auditory and kinaesthetic approach, which includes songs, stories, puppets and props.

 Below is a breakdown of the 6 phases which are taught across Foundation and Key Stage 1:

Phase 1

 (This phase will be taught in Nursery)

 Phase 1 falls largely within the Communication, Language and Literacy area of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage. It focuses on activities to promote speaking and listening skills, phonological awareness and oral blending and segmenting.

 Phase 1 covers the following aspects:

1. Environmental sounds (Purpose - To develop children listening skills and awareness of sounds in the environment)

2. Instrumental sounds (Purpose - To develop an awareness of sounds made with instruments)

3. Body percussion (Purpose - To develop an awareness of sounds and rhythm)

4. Rhythm and rhyme (Purpose - To develop an awareness of rhythm and rhyme in speech)

5. Alliteration (Purpose - To develop an understanding of alliteration)

6. Voice sounds (Purpose - To develop an awareness of oral blending and segmenting)

7. Oral blending and segmenting (Purpose - To develop oral blending and segmenting skills)


 Phase 2

 (This phase will be taught in Reception)

 The purpose of this phase is to teach at least 19 letters, and move children on from oral blending and segmenting to blending and segmenting with letters. By the end of the phase many children should be able to read some VC (vowel consonant) and CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words and to spell them either using magnetic letters or by writing them. During the phase they will be introduced to reading two-syllable words and simple captions. They will also learn to read some high-frequency ‘tricky’ words: I, the, to, go, no.

Letter progression:

Set 1: s a t 

Set 2: i n m d

Set 3: g o c k

Set 4: ck e u r

Set 5: h b f,ff l,ll ss 

Tricky words: I, the, to go, no

 Phase 3

 (Most children will move on to phase 3 in the spring term in Reception.)

 The purpose of phase 3 is to teach another 25 graphemes (written letter sound), most of them comprising two letters (e.g. oa), so that the children can represent each of about 42 phonemes (oral letter sound) by a grapheme. Children also continue to practise CVC blending and segmenting to reading and spelling simple two-syllable words and captions. They will learn letter names during this phase, learn to read more tricky words and also begin to learn to spell some of these words.


Letter progression:

Set 6: j v w x

Set 7: y z,zz qu

Graphemes taught:

 ch sh th ng

 ai ee igh oa

 oo ar or ur

ow oi er ur

ear air ure

 Tricky words: he, me, she, we, be, was, my, you, her, they, all, are


Phase 4

(Most children will start Year 1 with a recap of this phase)

The purpose of this phase is to consolidate children’s knowledge of graphemes in reading and spelling words containing adjacent consonants and polysyllabic words, (words containing more than one syllable).

No new graphemes are taught during phase 4

 Tricky Words: some, one, said, come, do, so, were, when, have, there, out, like, little, what

 Phase 5

(Most children will be taught Phase 5 throughout Year 1)

The purpose of this phase is for children to broaden their knowledge of graphemes and phonemes for use in reading and spelling. They will learn new graphemes and alternative pronunciations forthese and graphemes they already know, where relevant. Some of the alternatives will already have been encountered in the high-frequency words that have been taught. Children become quicker at recognising graphemes of more than one letter in words and at blending the phonemes they represent. When spelling words they will learn to choose the appropriate graphemes to represent phonemes and begin to build word-specific knowledge of the spellings of words.

 Phase 6

 (Most children will be taught Phase 6 throughout Year 2)

 The purpose of this phase is to support children to become fluent readers and increasingly accurate spellers.


 Phonics screening

When children are in Year 1, they will complete a Phonics Screening Check in the final half-term. This is a quick assessment, which confirms whether a child has made expected progress. The assessments are carried out individually with the class teacher, and consist of 40 words containing the graphemes taught throughout phases 2-5. The assessment contains both real and pseudo (nonsense) words, which the child has to read. At the end of Year 1 a report is sent out to families, to share the results of the Phonics Screening Check. Any child who does not reach the acquired standard will receive support in Year 2, before they retake the Phonics Screening Check at the end of the year.

Please click here for more information about the Year 1 Screening Check.