Parent Information- How To Support Your Child
Year One: Phonics Screening Check Information for Parents
"The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that 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."
1. What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.
2 .What is in the phonics screening check?
There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.
3. What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?
It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.
There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.
4. What does it check?
It checks that your child can:
- Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
- Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
- Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.
5. What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
6. Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.
7. What happens to the results?
The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.
8. Do all schools and children have to participate?
All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school. There is a process in place for reviewing children with special educational needs, so if your child’s teacher thinks there are very special reasons related to your child and their needs that make them think the phonics screening check may not be appropriate, they will decide on appropriate action and discuss this with you.
9. What should I do if my child is struggling to decode a word?
- Say each sound in the word from left to right.
- Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.
- Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.
- Work at your child’s pace.
- Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.
Alphablocks - lots of videos and games to help with recognising letters and reading.
Phonics Games - A variety of different interactive games
Letters and sounds initial sound game- this game lets your child reveal a sound/letter and then try to find the picture that starts with the same sound. www.letters-and-sounds.com/phase-3-games.html
BBC Bitesize - this game allows your child to listen to the sounds in a word and to pick the correct letter. Then they can see what word they have made with all of the sounds together. www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zyfkng8/articles/zt27y4j
Phonics play - there are several free games to play that will help your child with their blending and segmenting.
Parent Information Flyer Phonic Screening
Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check
1. Do you have a child in year 4 at primary school?
If so, your child will be participating in the multiplication tables check in June.
The purpose of the check is to determine whether your child can fluently recall their times tables up to 12, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will also help your child’s school to identify if your child may need additional support.
2. What is the multiplication tables check?
It is an on-screen check consisting of 25 times table questions. Your child will be able to answer 3 practice questions before taking the actual check. They will then have 6 seconds to answer each question. On average, the check should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete.
3. What if my child cannot access the check?
There are several access arrangements available for the check, these can be used to support pupils with specific needs. Your child’s teacher will ensure that the access arrangements are appropriate for your child before they take the check in June.
The check has been designed so that it is inclusive and accessible to as many children as possible, including those with special educational needs or disability (SEND) or English as an additional language (EAL). However, there may be some circumstances in which it will not be appropriate for a pupil to take the check, even when using suitable access arrangements. If you have any concerns about your child accessing the check, you should discuss this with your child’s headteacher.
4. Do I need to do anything to prepare my child for the check?
No, you do not need to do anything additional to prepare your child for the check. As part of usual practice, teachers may ask you to practise times tables with your child.
Schools will have unlimited access to a try it out area from March. They can use this to make sure pupils have the necessary support required to access the check. This includes opportunities for pupils to familiarise themselves with the check application and try out any access arrangements that may be required.
5. How will the results be used?
Schools will have access to all their pupils’ results, allowing those pupils who need additional support to be identified.
6. Will I receive feedback on my child’s check?
Yes. Your child’s teacher will share your child’s score with you, as they would with all national curriculum assessments. There is no pass mark for the check.
7. Further information
Your child’s teacher will be able to answer any questions about the multiplication tables check.
For further details you can also visit www.gov.uk/STA.