Leigh St Mary's Church of England Primary School

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Phonics Screening Check 2023

90% of Year 1 pupils met the standard in the June 2023 Phonics Screening Check 

Information about the national curriculum tests in Year 2 and Year 6 also known as SATs.

If you have a child in Year 2 or Year 6 at Leigh St Mary's they will be taking tests in May. We shall be using the results of the tests to judge how well they are progressing but we won't be just using the tests results alone. Instead, we'll be thinking about what we've seen and evidenced throughout their key stage learning to get a full and accurate picture of how well your child is doing.

We will send you a report on their progress by the end of the year.

The reason why the Government asks us to assess your child in Year 2 and 6 is to help us make sure they have mastered skills in reading, writing and maths. Seeing how well your child is doing at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2 is essential in ensuring that they're on the right track when they reach the end of primary school. 

At Leigh St Mary's  we have lots of interventions and support strategies in place if your child is struggling with these skills. It is vital that you meet with your child's class teacher at the next Parents' Meetings, so that we can talk you through the many ways you can help your child at home. 

The report which will be sent to you in the summer term will tell you whether your child is performing at the expected standard for their age in maths, English reading and English writing or whether they need more support to achieve it.

The national curriculum tests reflect the primary curriculum. It is a curriculum designed to be on a par with the best education systems in the world and as such the bar has been raised.

The results look very different from those of previous years and should not be compared with them. They will be reported using what's known as a scaled score, where a score of 100 means a child is working at the standard expected of them. A score below 100 indicates a child needs more support and a score of 100 or above suggests a child is working at or above the expectations for this age.

The maximum score is 115 and the minimum is 85.

The tests aren't the whole picture though, we take into consideration the judgements based on how your child has performed in class over the past 2 years. The tests are one piece of evidence towards the overall judgement.

If your child does not meet the expected standard please do not worry. This helps us to identify where your child needs extra support and assistance to get them back on track with reading and maths.  



What is the Phonics screen Test?


The phonics screening check is a quick and easy way to test your child's phonics knowledge. It helps us confirm whether your child has made the expected progress. It is a statutory requirement that every child takes the check in Year 1 unless your child has no phonic awareness at all and that discussion will take place between school and parents before the date of the checks. 



How does the check work?


Your child will sit with their class teacher, Mrs Weightman and they will be asked to read 40 words aloud.

Your child may have read some of the words before while others will be completely new.

The check normally takes just a few minutes to complete and there is no time limit. If your child is struggling the teacher will stop the check. The check is designed not to be stresful for your child.


What are nonsense or pseudo words?  

The check consists of a mix of real words and nonsense or pseudo words. Your child will be told before the check that there will be nonsense words that they will not have seen before.

Nonsense words eg 'vap' or 'jound' are new to all children. The reason why the check asks your child to read these words so that they can't rely on their memory but it does rely on your child using their decoding skills.


After the check

We will inform you about your child's progress in phonics and how he/she has done in the check at the end of the summer term. If your child found the check difficult we will tell you what support we have in place already in school and what support they will have in Y2.

Children who have not met the standard in Year 1 will retake the check in Year 2.

The pass mark in 2022 was 32 out of 40. The pass mark in 2023 is unknown to teachers and is only released after the check in June.


What if my child is poorly that week?

If your child is poorly that week, we have a 2 week window in which we must administer the check.


How can I help my child at home?

  • Please read to and with your child as often as possible. It is vital that your child reads something that they are interested in. Please talk to your class teacher if your child doesn't like their reading book - we have lots of different sorts of books on offer.
  • Reading is really important so please take every opportunity for your child to see you reading and to ask them to read wherever possible!!
  • When your child is reading their book please remind them to sound out the sounds within words and then to blend them together - it helps if your child can use their finger under the word to segment the sounds and then to run their finger under the word to blend those sounds together again. (Ask your child's class teacher if you're not sure)
  • Play word games at every opportunity eg 'I Spy'  or 'Word Bingo'
  • Your child's class teacher will be inviting you to a workshop about the Phonics Screening Check,  please look out for the date
  • Past Phonics Screening Tests are available to download