Year One Phonics Screening Check

Lots of parents have contacted us at the Better Tuition Centre, to ask about the Year 1 phonics screening check, so here is a quick who, when, where, why, what and how post to help you make sense of it all.  You can also read more about this year’s checks on our blog.

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1.  What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?

The screening check is described by the Department for Education as ‘a light-touch assessment’.  Parents who are anxious – and there are many – should see it not as a test that can be passed or failed, but as a process which will identify children who need extra help in Year 2.  The focus of the test is decoding phonics (sounding out words).

2.  Who is the Year 1 phonics screening check for?

All schools carry out the Year 1 phonics screening check: there is, however, a disapplication procedure for those Year 1 children who are really struggling with phonics.  This means that if your child has not yet grasped how to decode phonics (and there is no need to panic if this is the case in Year 1), they shouldn’t have to undergo the screening check.  Year 2 children who did not sit the test in 2012 or who are among the 42% of pupils who did not reach the threshold set by the DfE will also undergo the Year 1 phonics screening check.  They will be asked to read the same words as the Year 1 students during the same week.

3.  When will the Year 1 phonics screening checks take place?

The Year 1 screening checks will take place during the week starting 17 June 2013.

4.  Where will the Year 1 phonics screening checks take place?

All Year 1 phonics screening checks will take place in school.

5.  Why does the Department for Education want all Year 1 children to undergo a phonics screening check?

The purpose of the Year 1 screening check is to identify those children who may be struggling with synthetic phonics and may need extra help in Year 2.  You will be told your child’s results, but the school’s results will not be published.

6.  How will the test be carried out?

The Year 1 phonics screening check will be carried out on a one-to-one basis and should take between four and nine minutes.  In most cases, the child’s class teacher will carry out the screening check, however in some cases another teacher from the school, such as the literacy co-ordinator, will carry out the check.  In any case, the teacher who carries out the check should be familiar to your child.

There are two sections in the Year 1 phonics screening check, totalling 40 words or letter sounds.  Section one will consist of letter sounds and combinations, such as a, ar, and ch.  Section two will consist of short words such as bag, or chip, as well as longer words such as strong.  There will also be two syllable words, such as mama and some non-words.  If you want to practise reading non-words, there is a long list of them here, but be aware that some of them are quite difficult.  You can download a practice Year 1 Phonics Screening Check here.

The Year 1 phonics screening check is nothing to worry about, but if you would like some extra help for your child aged 5 – 16 with any literacy or numeracy issues, why not start with a FREE assessment at the Better Tuition centre in the heart of Urmston?  Call Paul Syrett or Christine McLaughlin on 0161 748 3912 or email us to book.

You can find out more about our professional tuition centre in Urmston on our FAQ page.

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