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Phonics at Ferham Primary School 

At Ferham Primary school we strive to teach children to read effectively and quickly using the Read Write Inc. phonics scheme. We are passionate about ensuring all children become confident readers and therefore dedicate a significant amount of time to the teaching of Phonics and Reading. 

Curriculum Intent 

At Ferham, Phonics takes the highest of priorities and as a result, a large proportion of teaching time is awarded to this. We believe Read Write Inc phonics to be the best way to support and accelerate reading progress for our children at Ferham. 


By accessing this programme, children will: 

  • decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills 

  • read common exception words on sight 

  • understand what they read 

  • read aloud with fluency and expression 

  • acquire good handwriting 

  • work effectively with a partner to explain and consolidate what they are learning. 

Our aim is for children to complete the Phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level. 

Curriculum Implementation 

The teaching of Phonics begins in the summer term in F1 and we aim to support children to complete the programme as swiftly as possible regardless of their starting point. This would usually be at the end of autumn term Y2 for bloodline pupils (on roll since F1). As a school with high mobility, we assess each child on point of entry and place them in a group which matches their phonic knowledge. We group pupils homogeneously, according to their progress in reading. 

Before being taught the alphabetic code in F1, children are taught to practice using ‘pure sounds’ when orally segmenting and blending words (Fred Games). They join in with games to encourage attentive listening. They are taught 3 sounds per week and then once they recognise all of the set 1 sounds and can orally blend, they are taught to blend words. 

In F2 we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily through extra afternoon phonics, oral segmenting and blending of words and tricky word disco. In addition to this, children read books matched to their phonic ability. Unfamiliar words and common exception words from the books are taught in order to build fluency and understanding. 

In KS1, pupils continue to learn set 2 and 3 sounds from the programme which contain digraphs and trigraphs. Children are taught how to read multisyllabic words and words with suffixes rapidly which are matched to their reading books. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding. Before completing the programme, children are taught the additional phonemes which are not part of the main programme and longer words such as place names. 

Children in KS2 are taught Phonics the same way as KS1. Some children in Years 4, 5 & 6 follow the Fresh Start programme which is adapted for older children who have yet to crack the phonics code. This programme is for children who know most of the set 3 sounds yet need to increase reading fluency. 

Additional Phonics instruction is used to accelerate the progress of children who are not on track to meet age related expectation. This looks different across school. In EYFS, afternoon sessions, one to one tutoring and ‘sound lanyards’ are used with the aim to ‘keep up, not catch up’. In KS1 and KS2, one to one tutoring phonic sessions are used to accelerate learning for any pupils that is below age related expectations, including those who are EAL and INA (International New Arrivals). We support pupils who have identified special educational needs for however long it takes for them to crack the phonics code. 

Curriculum Impact 

At Ferham, we like to practise, and Phonics lessons are no different. Each lesson begins with a recap of prior learning before the formal session begins: we call this assessment as learning.   

We assess  learning every 6 weeks for all children who are following Read Write Inc. Phonics. We use this data to assign them to the appropriate group. This gives us a very good indication of how well they are making progress relative to their starting points. We do this for all pupils, whenever they join us, so we can track all of them effectively. 

For pupils who are making rapid progress within the 6 weeks, they are reassessed and moved groups accordingly. 

Assessment for learning is a constant in phonics lessons from the teacher and also from our Phonics Leader who does not teach a group. 

Termly Phonics Screening Checks are used to assess pupils in Y1 and those in Y2 who didn’t pass the check in preparation for the PSC in June. Targeted support, including tutoring, is put into place for those who are not on track to be ARE by the end of the year. 

Ongoing Assessment for Learning is used as a vital tool to ensure our children are keeping up with the programme. 

End of year reports feedback to parents on the outcome of the Phonics Screening Check.  



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