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Cedars Primary School

Respect, Honesty, Kindness, Pride, Ambition

Phonics Screening Check

Phonics Screening Check

1. What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?

The national phonics screening check was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to ensure that children are making sufficient progress in the phonics skills to read words and are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning.

It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.


2. What happens during the Phonics Screening Check? 

The test is a relaxed and enjoyable experience. Your teachers will also have prepared your child who will be familiar with the format of the test. 

Your child will be assessed on their reading of 40 words, 20  of which are real and 20 of which are nonsense ‘pseudo’ or ‘alien’ words. Pseudo words test your child’s ability to decode words without the support of any memory of words that they may have come across in reading.


3. What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?

It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills. It should be an enjoyable activity for children which will take no more than 10 minutes.


4. What does it check? 

It checks that your child can:

  • Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
  • Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
  • Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.


 5. What is the pass rate?

The pass rate has been 32/40 since Phonics Screening began but this can change at any time. 


 6. What happens to the results?

The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.



7. What should I do if my child is struggling to decode a word?

  • Say each sound in the word from left to right.
  • Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.
  • Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.
  • Work at your child’s pace.
  • Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.

Parent Video: Phonics Screening Check

Please watch the video below for some information for parents about the Phonics Screening Check.