Year 1 phonics screening checks will soon be taking place across the country. But what do parents need to know?
What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check is a short assessment conducted one to one with class teachers to identify if a child can use phonics to read a selection of real and made-up “nonsense” words.
The tests should take around four to nine minutes to complete.
When do phonics screening checks take place?
This year, Year 1 phonics screening check will be administered in school during the week commencing 12 June.
What will my child be asked?
Pupils will be asked to read 40 words, some of which will be real words and some of which will be nonsense words (also know as “alien” words). The nonsense words will be formed from phonic sounds and rules that your child will have been taught. If children can read these words, this shows they have understood the phonics rules.
Each nonsense word will have a picture of an alien beside it to clearly distinguish it from the real words.
Some words will be made up of three or four letter and some will be more complex with five or six letters.
Can I see an example of the test?
Your child’s teacher should be able to show you past phonic screening check papers. You can also download past phonic screening check papers and materials from the Department for Education’s website.
How many words is my child expected to be able to read?
Last year, the “pass threshold” for the phonics screening check was 32 out of 40. However, the pass threshold is not communicated to schools until after the tests have been completed.
Will the results be published?
Schools’ phonic screening check results are not published. Parents are informed individually about their child’s score.
How can parents help children prepare?
Listening to your child read will help your child prepare for their phonics screening check, as will trying past papers together.
Most importantly, make sure the time you spend reading together and learning phonics is enjoyable! Children always learn better when learning is fun, and perform best when they feel relaxed and unpressurised.
What happens if my child does not score the pass threshold?
Children who score below the pass threshold should be given extra phonics help at school. They may also re-take the check in Year 2.
If you are concerned that your child is struggling to get to grips with phonics and you feel one-to-one support from a home tutor may help, your local Area Advisor will be pleased to advise you and match you with a Key Stage 1 literacy tutor near you.
Our tutors offer patient, fun and effective tuition to help pupils engage with phonics, maths and the key stage 1 curriculum, and build strong foundations for future learning.