Tel: 01616816351

Paddock Lane, Failsworth, Manchester M35 0NY





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 outlines a systematic programme for teaching phonic skills over six phases.

 Below is a breakdown of the 6 phases which are primarily taught across Early Years 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 instrument

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 the autumn term 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.


Letter progression:

Set 1: s a t p

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, into


Phase 3


(Most children will move on to phase 3 at the beginning of 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

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 be taught this phase at the end of Reception. They will also briefly revisit this phase at the start of Year 1.)

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 for these 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.

Graphemes taught:

ay, ou, ie, ea

oy, ir, ue, aw

wh, ph, ew, oe

au, ey, a-e, e-e

i-e, o-e, u-e

Tricky words: people, looked, their, Mr, asked, Mrs, oh, called, could


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.


School strategies


Decoding for reading: Children are taught to decode words with their ‘phonics finger’, before swiping over the word from left to right to blend the phonemes and read the word.

Segmenting for spelling: Children are taught to segment words using their ‘robot arms’, before blending the phonemes together with a clap.  


Application of phonics

At South Failsworth, we encourage children to apply their phonic knowledge during all reading and writing activities. This includes during typical literacy based learning such as English lessons, shared reading, guided and independent reading. As well as in reading and writing activities across the curriculum, and during their independent play in the Early Years. We ensure children are only asked to independently read texts that contain previously taught graphemes, and we provide visual displays and resources to support the children to develop their phonic knowledge successfully.


Working in partnership with parents

We are committed to working closely with families to create a partnership that enables all children to become successful and competent readers.  We send phonetically decodable reading books home weekly and we encourage parents and carers to contribute to their child’s reading development. Throughout the school year, we also offer families the opportunity to engage in phonics workshops and regular reading events.