Ofsted Outstanding

Avonwood Phonics Policy: Click Here

Phonics (SSP) Scheme: Unlocking Letters and Sounds

Phonics Lead: Kelly-Marie Wyatt

Phonics Senior Leadership Team Link: Kim Williams


At Avonwood Primary School, we strive to ensure all pupils are confident and fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One; we believe that reading is the key to success and underpins all learning. Having high expectations and a consistent approach to phonics ensures children are given the best possible foundation for reading, writing and communication and language skills.

Our chosen scheme is Unlocking Letters and Sounds which was validated by the DfE in December 2021. We follow the scheme with fidelity to ensure delivery of well-paced, quality-first daily phonics lessons. Phonics is taught daily in Foundation and Year 1, as well as continuing to be revisited in Year 2. Phonics lessons are whole-class, sequential, and build upon children’s prior phonological knowledge and allow for progression and continuity.

In Foundation, we begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of Autumn 1. Children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning Common Exception Words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions, and sentences. Children leave Foundation being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phases 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1, children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children in England are required to be screened using the national statutory Phonics Screening Check. This check was introduced to check the understanding of a child’s phonological knowledge and understanding. The check combines a mixture of real and pseudo (nonsense) words which the children must decode (read). The check takes place at the end of Year 1.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

For further details, please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression and vocabulary.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed, tracked, and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. Six key interventions set out in the Unlocking Letters and Sounds scheme are followed across all Key Stages for those children that require additional phonics support. These interventions support GPC recognition and blending and segmenting for reading and writing. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.

Early Reading at Avonwood Primary School

At Avonwood Primary School, we promote a 'phonics first' approach. In both our guided reading sessions at school and in the phonic book’s children take home, texts are very closely matched to your child's current phonics knowledge; this is so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In following the Unlocking Letters and Sounds scheme, we promote the re-reading of these books at least 3 times to practise decoding, fluency, prosody, and comprehension. 

In these crucial early stages of reading, we have carefully organised and sequenced our phonic books to align with the Unlocking Letters and Sounds scheme. This ensures complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow. Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our whole school colour banded book scheme so that they can continue to progress in their decoding, fluency, and comprehension skills, becoming avid, expert readers.

At Avonwood, we pride ourselves on building positive relationships between home and school. We believe this partnership is essential in developing confident readers. We hold phonic workshops for our parent’s building knowledge of our approach and strategies to ensure consistency between home and school. Should you ever have any questions, queries, or concerns about phonics, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s class teacher, or our phonics lead, Miss Wyatt, who are always happy to help.

And introduction to early reading and phonics

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