Phonics Screening Check

Are you set up for success in the Year 1 screening check?

In many of our top Read Write Inc. schools 80% of children or more achieved the expected level in the screening check. Use our checklist to ensure your children are ready.

Find out how our best schools ensured success

Christ Church (Erith) CE Primary School, Kent

Pass Rate (2015): 96%

Sarah Kanani, assistant headteacher and literacy leader at Christ Church, shared with us their four keys to success:

  • Regular assessments which inform groupings, planning and identification for extra support (in addition to regular Read Write Inc. sessions)
  • High expectations of both staff and pupils, ensuring that the approach to Read Write Inc.  is consistent and applied throughout the entire curriculum
  • Adapting the Read Write Inc. programme to suit the needs of our children and teachers/TAs taking ownership of the planning, teaching and assessment for their groups
  • Rigorous monitoring of teaching and learning, ensuring support and CPD is provided for those members of staff who deliver Read Write Inc., so that children can make maximum progress.

Plympton St Maurice Primary School, Plymouth

Pass Rate (2015): 97%

Hazel Hawkin, reading leader at Plympton, shared with us their three keys to success:

  • Regular assessment of the children to close the gaps, this includes me working closely with my reading teachers as they may also spot areas the children need to work on
  • Little and often – practice makes perfect! This includes the sounds and nonsense words. It is so important that the children are able to quickly spot the special friends in all words, as well as segmenting and blending words back together. The more practice in short bursts, the easier they find it to learn
  • Make it fun! Reward the children with lots and lots of praise when they are getting it right.

Sarah-Jane Tustain, another reading leader at the school, also shared her three top tips.

  • Strong leadership. Not only must the head be fully supportive and endorse Read Write Inc., the reading leaders must also be very skilled in leading others and monitoring delivery
  • Consistent practice across the school, monitored regularly by the school Read Write Inc. lead and trainer, through development days
  • Commitment by all; the school, pupils and parents. We regularly hold workshops for parents to get them on board. If people believe in it, they will back it and see success!

Roade Primary School, Northampton

Pass Rate (2015): 96%

Mark Currell, Headteacher and Sally Humphrey, reading leader at Roade, shared with us their three keys to success:

  • The staff: we have the commitment and the buy-in from our fabulous staff. Read Write Inc. is well organised, well led and well delivered. We believe in the programme and are all able to deliver it to a high standard. We also ran parents' evenings to show parents how to support their child with phonics development at home
  • The school: we have ensured that the timetabling and organisation across all the classes involved is effective and that the programme/learning is given the time required. We were prepared and ready to go at the beginning of the year, and throughout the year we ensured that the groupings were very fluid. We reviewed the abilities of the children regularly, ensuring that they were in the right groups and learning at the right levels
  • The pupils: we make sure that the lessons and activities are fun and that the children enjoy being part of them. We have worked hard to create a safe and supportive environment, where making mistakes is a good thing as it allows us to learn!

Garden Fields JMI School, Hertfordshire

Pass Rate (2015): 97%

Catherine Keegan, the reading leader at Garden Fields, shared with us their four keys to success:

  • Continuous assessment to identify gaps in children’s knowledge, including grouping assessment every half term, practice phonics screening checks, listening to children read, and informal assessment throughout the day
  • Use of interventions to support children making slow progress e.g. 1:1 hotlist
  • Lots of exposure to alien words so children feel confident tackling them and applying their sounds
  • Read Write Inc. grouping assessments are given to the specific Read Write Inc. teachers, allowing them to analyse and teach the gaps.


We offer free Phonic Screening Check Prep sessions for schools that have received Read Write Inc. Phonics training. Available in the Spring term, these sessions are open to Reading Leaders, Reception and Year 1 Teachers.

What is the phonics screening check?

"The phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment to make sure that all pupils have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard by the age of 6. All year 1 pupils in maintained schools, academies and free schools must complete the check.

The phonics check will help teachers identify the children who need extra help so they can receive the support they need to improve their reading skills. These children will then be able to retake the check in year 2.

The check comprises a list of 40 words and non-words which the child will read one-to-one with a teacher."

(Department for Education)