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Getting Started with Phonics

Sep 18th 2023

It’s a new school year and that means it is time to hit the ground running with phonics again.

Reception teachers will be undertaking their baseline assessments but don’t forget that best practice will see phonics teaching start no later than week 3.

Each SSP programme will have their own timeline of actions and progress (don’t forget to check for any updates from over the holidays) but here are some of our tips to make sure you start as you mean to go on:

  • Make sure intervention plans are in place for identified pupils from R who are now in Y1. The quicker these start, the sooner you will see results and pupils can catch up. Remember short, focused interventions are more effective than 30 mins with too many things to concentrate on.
  • Ensure any new members of staff (from across the school) have had training in your chosen SSP programme. Having a team of experts is important for fidelity and to avoid lost learning due to absences.
  • Stick to the progression in your SSP programme and use additional times throughout the day to pick up pupils at risk of falling behind. This again should be short and focused.
  • Bring parents up to date with the expectations for their child’s learning in their new class. They may have limited experience of phonics teaching or they may have been through a different programme with older siblings. Make sure they know the key teaching mantras for your programme to avoid mixed messages.
  • Make sure Y2 pupils aren’t forgotten once they have passed the PSC. Now is the time to build fluency but also to close wider gaps to set them up for spelling success. It is still really important for these pupils to get regular reading practice with an adult as they hone their skills further.

Hopefully, these reminders will get you started and make Autumn 1 a smooth transition.

If you have any phonics-related questions, email sian@theliteracycompany.co.uk or get in touch with your local English Hub. Look out for our next updates later in the year.