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Bolton Primary School

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Phonics at Bolton

Phonics Subject Lead: Debbie Tinkler (Since September 2020)

Ros Dando and Andrea Moody will lead Phonics during Debbie's maternity leave.

Monitoring English Governor: Lisa Wilson (Since September 2020)


 The teaching of Phonics

Progression in reading is enhanced through the explicit teaching of systematic synthetic phonics. Phonics teaching begins in Reception and is taught daily for a minimum of twenty minutes, from Reception through to Year 2. Children are taught phonics following the programme of study 'Letters and Sounds' and Jolly Phonics. Additional material from websites and published schemes may also be used to enhance learning and enjoyment. Teaching is largely done through small groups and may be taught by teachers and/or teaching assistants working in the school based on the needs of the children. Where possible, intervention groups are used to help children who are making slower progress to catch up. This may continue into Key Stage 2.


Assessment of Phonics

Year 1 take part in National Phonics Screening at the end of Year 1. They are given practice Phonics tests in order to accurately assess who has reached the acquired standard. Children who do not pass the test are retested in Year 2. These children may then be targeted for additional phonics interventions.


At Bolton children enjoy great success with phonics. In 2017 and 2018 100% of pupils achieved the expected standard and 75% in 2019. (The national standard in 2018 was 82%)

Ofsted 2020 January: 'Adults check progress that children make through the well-planned phonics programme...By the end of Y1, nearly all pupils achieve the expected standard in the Y1 phonics screening check.'


Phonics is the knowledge of how the alphabetic sounds work and how these sounds are combined to correspond to the spoken word. Phonemes are the sounds made by blending letters to correspond to the spoken word and graphemes are the written equivalent of the phonemes.

Through Phonics we aim:

  • To deliver a high quality, systematic phonic programme that is fast, focused, frequent and fun.
  • To enable children to start learning phonic knowledge and skills as soon as they begin school with the expectation they will become fluent readers, having secured word building and recognition by the end of Key stage one.
  • To teach the children to apply the skill of blending phonemes in order to read words.
  • To teach the children to apply the skill of segmenting words into phonemes in order to spell words.
  • To ensure that children apply phonic knowledge as their first approach to reading and spelling, even though all words do not conform to regular phonic patterns.
  • To ensure children are taught tricky words that do not conform to regular phonic patterns.
  • To encourage children to attempt to spell words for themselves, within the range of their phonic knowledge by building an individual repertoire and the confidence and strategies to attempt the unfamiliar (Please click here)



The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1. At Bolton Primary School, we value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We acknowledge that children need to be taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to be equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of year 1. We also value and encourage the pupils to read for enjoyment and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills.



Through the teaching of letters and sounds and Jolly Phonics the children are taught the essential skills needed for reading. Phonics is taught daily to all children in Early Years and KS1. Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and interventions are planned for those children who are working below expected levels throughout KS2. Staff systematically teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. Phonics is delivered in small groups. Pupils have regular reading sessions with an adult we ensure the pupils are regularly practising and applying their phonics knowledge. In the EYFS the continuous provision matches the pupil’s current knowledge and understanding whilst ensuring the children are suitable challenged. Teachers regularly assess the pupil’s phonics knowledge using the phonics assessment, reading milestones and Reading Early Learning Goal (in EYFS). These regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. The children have reading books which they are encouraged to read regularly at home which match their current phonics level.



Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school. Attainment in reading is measured using the statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1. However, we firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our reading curriculum goes beyond the results of the statutory assessments.


Please see our English at Bolton document below for more information, including our policy, progression of skills and long term plans.