What is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check?
The Phonics Screening Check is meant to show how well your child can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1, and to identify children who may need extra phonics help. The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments” that take about four to nine minutes to complete.
How do children complete the Phonics Screening Check?
The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.
The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).
All children in Year 1 will take the test during the week beginning 12th June 2023.
Your child will be scored against a national standard, and the main result will be whether or not they fall below, within or above this standard.
How is the screen scored?
In 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 the "pass threshold" was 32, which means children had to read at least 32 words out of 40 correctly. The threshold mark is communicated to schools at the end of June, after the test has been taken, so that teachers can mark the Check.
Past paper Screening Check Example
For more information on phonics please follow the link to 'Our Curriculum Subjects' page.