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KS1 Phonics Screening Test

Information about the KS1 Phonics Screening Test

What is the Phonics Screening Test?

The screening test is rolled out nationally each year and is designed to assess your children's reading skills via 40 words, split into 2 sections. Each section consists of 10 real words and 10 pseudo-words ('alien' or 'nonsense' words). These pseudo-words are 'thrown in' because your children need to be able to use their phonic decoding skills to be able to read any word they may come across as they progress through school, whether they know it's meaning or not. This enables children to learn new words themselves by gaining an understanding through the context in which it has been placed.  

When is the test?

The Phonics Test is a compulsory test. It takes place in the second week of June, in the second half of Summer Term , towards the end of Year 1.


Why does my child have to do the screen?

Every child across the country must and will take part in this test. The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for us to ensure that your children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning. We also want to ensure your children are prepared for their transition for Year 2 and the reading demands presented by the Year 2 SATs Tests.


How are the tests taken?

We, as educators, do not have any access to the Phonics Screening Check words until the morning of the first day of the Screening week in June. The test itself will be carried out by your child’s class teacher, in a comfortable setting. Each child will take their test individually, on a one-to-one basis. Unfortunately they will not be given any prompts to read the word again if they have read it incorrectly. However, they will have plenty of time to attempt each word and the Key Stage One team will do everything they can to put each child at ease when taking their test. 

What is the pass mark?

In order to achieve expected standard your child must be able to read 32 or more of the 40 words in most screening tests, however this may change depending on the guidance from the Department for Education.

If your child does not reach the expected standard in this test, the screen check acts as an aid to assess knowledge gaps, the possible learning needs, phonic skills and/or audible discrimination presented by each child. Should your child need extra support to achieve the expected level for reading, this support will be implemented and continued throughout Year 2, so that they can take this test again at the end of Year 2.


How can I help my child?

As part of our Year 1 curriculum, we send home regular resources to read with you child. Please try to practise these as much as possible, challenging your child to detect the digraph (2 letters, 1 sound)  and trigraph (3 letters, 1 sound) sounds in each word, encouraging them to 'have another go' if it does not sound right and ensure that they blend each word after sounding it out.

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