We begin teaching our systematic, synthetic phonics programme in our Reception class.


At Gurney Pease Academy, we are passionate about ensuring all of our children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. As children start at Gurney Pease Academy, they are provided with lots of opportunities to engage with books that inspire their imagination and interest, motivating and exciting them to learn and become competent readers.

Phonics is taught in a highly structured programme of daily lessons across Early Years and KS1, whole class. The ‘Sounds-Write’ programme is followed, providing a synthetic approach to the teaching of phonics. This allows our phonics teaching and learning to be progressive from Reception up to Year 3 as well as allowing children’s listening and speaking skills to develop.

In Reception, Phonics is taught through whole class teaching input, and small group input and activities. As we progress into Year 1 and 2, the teaching of phonics continues to be taught whole class. Where extra intervention is necessary, this is provided for children throughout Key Stage 1 and, if needed, into Key Stage 2. This is supplemented by home readers from Sounds-Write, Dandelion Readers and Dandelion Launchers phonic based home readers, which are directly matched to a child’s phonetic ability. Phonic opportunities to read and reread captions, questions, sentences, as well as write and spell are part of the learning. A library book is also taken home weekly in order to share with their family at home.

Each session gives an opportunity for children to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learned.

There are two parts to Sounds–Write, the Initial Code and the Extended Code.

  • Children in Nursery are immersed in language, we provide a range of listening activities through play, to develop their listening skills. Activities include listening to sounds, rhyming books, words and activities, alliteration style activities, and finally oral blending and segmenting. This is taught alongside singing Nursery rhymes, songs, reading stories and providing a language rich environment.
  • The Initial Code – As children move into Reception they are introduced to the Initial Code which marks the start of systematic phonic work, children are taught to blend and segment in order to read and spell words and develop their writing abilities. It is expected that children will complete the Initial Code by Easter and will use the Summer term to consolidate all they have learned.
  • The Extended Code – Now, in KS1 we move on to the “The Extended Code”. Children are introduced to all the remaining common vowel and consonant sound to spelling correspondences.

The spelling of high frequency words are taught continuously throughout the programme.

More information on Sounds-Write can be found here.

Phonics Assessment

Children’s progress is continually reviewed to allow for interventions to occur, and children are able to catch up.

The National Phonics Screening check is performed in June of Year 1, support is provided for children running up to the screening to identify any issues. A Year 1 phonics workshop gives parents information about how they can best support their children at home with phonics. The purpose of the screening check is to confirm that all children have learned phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard. The children who did not meet the required standard for the check in Year 1, will enter Year 2 with additional support for Phonics. As children enter KS2 provision is made, where necessary, for any children still requiring daily phonics.


At Gurney Pease Academy, through the teaching of systematic phonics our aim is for children to become fluent and confident readers by the end of KS1.  We encourage reading for pleasure through children having a choice of enriching and challenging texts as well as building in time for children to read independently and as part of a whole class. All children have daily opportunities to read a variety of material in school, including regularly with an adult.

We firmly believe that reading is the key to all learning.

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