Phonics - matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters - is a key aspect of early education and forms the building blocks for future successful learning, both at school and in life.
The teaching of phonics is divided in to phases 1-6 and starts in preschool. Once children are in Reception class, this knowledge is further developed so that most children confidently recognise and say single letters, blends (groups) of letters and whole words by the end of the Reception year. Phonics teaching remains a key focus throughout KS1 (Years 1 and 2) with the Phonics screening check - a national statutory assessment taking place towards the end of Year 1, by which time most children will be secure in the phase 5 phonics. Year 2 focuses on securing phase 6 phonics, with the aim of the children becoming fluent readers and accurate spellers.
Some children may require additional phonics input due to speech and language delay or additional learning needs. A few children require additional phonics support throughout their time at St Mary's. We are fortunate to have well trained staff with significant expertise in identifying additional phonics needs or difficulties who deliver targeted support programmes to those children who need it.
We use a variety of published schemes to support the teaching of phonics at St Mary's and adapt these to meet the needs of the individual children accordingly. These are systematic synthetic phonics programmes which ensure phonic knowledge is taught in the correct order to enable children to build upon their previous learning and apply this knowledge to decode unfamiliar words.
Schemes we use include Letters and Sounds, Jolly Phonics, Read Write Inc. Learning at home supported by online programmes such as Phonics Play and Bug Club as well as decodable reading books.