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Brierley Forest Primary
& Nursery School

At Brierley Forest Primary & Nursery School, we follow the Letters and Sounds programme to teach Phonics. Letters and Sounds is a resource published by the Department for Education and Skills which consists of six phases.
Phonics is about learning and applying the individual sounds of letters, these are called phonemes. For example, ‘sh’ in ship, ‘oa’ in boat or ‘igh’ in light. These phonemes are then blended or ‘pushed’ together to read words and segmented or ‘pulled apart’ to write words. Children start to learn phonics from the very start of Foundation Stage through to Year two and beyond if needed. We support children in developing their listening skills from an early age in order for them to progress onto learning about letters and sounds. We introduce these sounds in a fun and engaging way through Jolly Phonics songs and rhymes in daily 20 minute sessions. We also teach children how to read and write high frequency words in every phonics session. These are words that appear most frequently in reading books and that they need to be able to read and spell. Some are easier to read than others as children can ‘build them up’ or ‘sound them out’ using their phonic knowledge. Others you cannot as easily, and are called tricky words. Each phonics session is structured around four areas.
  • Review – Practise previously learned graphemes (letters) and the phonemes (sounds) they make
  •  Teach- Teach new graphemes and the phonemes they make along with tricky high frequency words
  • Practise- Practise blending to read words with the new grapheme and phoneme it makes. Practise segmenting and spelling words with the new grapheme and phoneme it makes.
  • Apply – Read or write a sentence using words containing the new graphemes as well as high frequency words.
In Foundation Stage 1 we base phonics around developing children’s speaking and listening skills. This is Phase One. They will be playing games, singing songs and rhymes in structured adult led activities to get them attuned to the sounds around them and this will lay the foundations for phonics work in Phase Two. These activities are intended to continue throughout the other phases as children will need lots of practise before they become confident in their phonic knowledge and skills.
In Foundation Stage 2 children start Phase Two. The children listen and recognise phonemes in words. They will learn the phonemes and graphemes through Jolly Phonics Songs, rhymes and actions so they learn in a fun and engaging way and remember what they have learned to enable them to apply these skills in their independent learning. They orally practise blending and segmenting words for reading and writing. They will then continue to learn the graphemes (the letters) and phonemes in Phase Three which include 2 letter digraphs (2 letter phonemes) such as ‘ai’ in rain and some 3 letter trigraphs (3 letter phonemes) ‘such as ure’. By the end of Foundation Stage 2 it is expected that children will be able to use their phonic knowledge to decode and read aloud words accurately with the phonemes in Phase Two and Three and that they can use their phonic knowledge to write simple sentences that can be read by themselves and others.
In Key Stage One Phonics continues with Phases Three to Six. The children are reinforcing the phonemes, digraphs and trigraphs (3 letter phonemes) they have previously learned in trickier words as well as learning alternative spelling choices for the phonemes already covered. They will continue to do this with Jolly Phonics songs, actions and rhymes where appropriate and continue to develop their blending and segmenting skills, not just only in phonics but across the other areas of the curriculum too.
At the end of Year One every child will take part in the Phonics Screening Check. Parents are invited to a question and answer session before this to explain what it is all about and how you can support your child’s phonics skills at home. The children will be asked to read a list of 40 words, half of which will be ‘nonsense words’ such as vap or shoast which are an alien’s ‘name’. Each child will read these words individually to their class teacher. The children will be given as much time as they need in a relaxed atmosphere to complete the check. If your child has not met the required standard in phonics at the end of Year One, additional support will be given and your child will retake the check at the end of Year Two.
In Key Stage Two class teachers also use the Letters and Sounds Publication where needed, as well as the Key Stage Two Support for Spelling publication. Children who have not met the required standard in phonics at the end of Key Stage One, or children who are finding phonics difficult, will continue with phonics sessions and interventions in Key Stage Two. Teachers in each year group may split into three groups to target different phonic phases and spelling support.  Individual children struggling have extra interventions put in place. Your child’s class teacher will discuss this with you if necessary.
Teachers will assess the phonic knowledge of their class throughout the year to ensure that children develop at the correct level. This will identify more able children and children that are struggling so booster groups, interventions and support can be put in place. This will enable us to identify where your child is working within the different phases and how we can work together to ensure every child progresses and achieves their full potential. These assessments are then passed up to the next class teacher at the end of the year. This enables the next class teacher to support the next steps in phonics to support every child to progress and reach their full potential.
If you have any questions, or would like any support in helping your child with Phonics, please do not hesitate to come and see our Phonics Leader Katy Hunt who will be very happy to help.