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Phonics and Early Reading

At Aughton Junior Academy phonics is taught from Foundation Stage 2 through to Year 2 using a systematic, synthetic approach. Aughton Junior Academy follows the ACET Phonics Scheme.

All children are assessed using the ACET assessment booklets and are grouped based on their current phonic level. Children will then be taught the appropriate sub-phase over the 6-week cycle before they are assessed again and regrouped.  A keep up programme (CUPS) will run alongside this to ensure all children still have the opportunity to acquire the phonemes appropriate for their year group.

Discrete phonics lessons take place daily across Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1. For Phase 1 (taught in FS1) children will complete activities in small groups that develop their speaking and listening skills and lay the foundations for the phonic work which starts in Phase 2. The emphasis during Phase 1 is to get children attuned to the sounds around them and ready to begin developing oral blending and segmenting skills. Children will use Phase 1 books to orally tell stories.  

Lessons for Phases 2 to 5 follow the structure of ‘Review, Teach, Practise, Apply’ to ensure that children are consolidating phonic knowledge and skills over time and that they are able to apply them in context. During lessons there are opportunities for discussing new vocabulary and ensuring letter formation is correct.

By the end of Foundation Stage children at the ‘expected’ level will be secure in phase 3d. Children who achieve the ‘exceeded’ grade will be working at phase 4 or above.

  • By the end of Year 1 children at age related expectations (ARE) will be secure in phase 5f.
  • By the end of Year 2 children at ARE will be secure in phase 6.

Children in Foundation Stage who are working below ARE will take part in small focus group phonics sessions to be taught the age related phonemes in addition to their discrete daily phonics lesson at their current phase.

Children in Year 1 who are working below ARE will be part of an afternoon ‘keep up phonic session’ (KUPS) where they are taught age related phonemes to ensure they are able to access and pass the Phonics Screening Check. This will be monitored through rigorous monitoring and tracking by the Phonics and Early Reading lead, Mrs Berridge.

The ‘keep up’ programme is delivered to children in Year 2 or above as intervention sessions to reteach and consolidate specific phoneme acquisition based on individual needs. Our phonics assessment booklet which is updated half termly is used to highlight the gaps in children phonics knowledge and to ensure they keep up with age related expectations.

There might be times when child requires phonics teaching in KS2, this is when a gap in their understanding of a particular phase is identified.  With the support of the Phonics and Early Reading lead, these children, who are not yet reading fluently, will be quickly identified, assessed and support / intervention is put in place.

As part of our in 2021-2022 academy improvement plan every child in Y3-Y5 received a daily phonics session which re-caps phase 6 phonics to ensure all children have acquired the phonics knowledge and skills to enable them to become a confident fluent reader, following the closure period and impact of COVID 19. 

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

This is a statutory assessment that the children take at the end of Year 1. They will complete it 1 to 1 with a teacher or familiar qualified adult in school. The test is a list of 40 real and pseudo (alien) words.

As a child goes through the test they are expected to apply more advanced phonics skills. The pass mark has remained at 32+ since its introduction in 2011 and children who do not pass in Year 1 are required to retake the test at the end of Year 2.

We will prepare children for this test from FS2 onwards in an informal and fun way. We use the check as a measure not the finish line and aim for the children to be scoring 40 marks in year 1 to demonstrate their sound grasp of phonics knowledge. Their progress will be tracked and shared with parents regularly and any additional support needed with be put in place.


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