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Primary School

Pursue Possibilities

Love Learning

Early Reading and Phonics

Please read this page in conjunction with our English Curriculum

Phonics Scheme Intent

In order to teach our pupils to become fluent, confident readers, who have a love of reading; we make it our priority to teach a daily phonics lesson using a schematic synthetic phonics programme. We have used our own designed scheme of work since 2013. We  run 4 classes across EY and KS1 in our rural context and mixed aged classes made it essential to coordinate the teaching of phonics schematically so that each child had age relevant content and appropriate support to maintain progress or receive intervention. 

The teaching team use carefully created content based on the Letters and Sounds phases with Jolly Phonics actions to ensure consistency of our pedagogical approach and resources are supported by experienced teaching assistants across the phases working with smaller groups of carefully selected children. Our reading books are phonetically decodable and are largely Rigby Star but with some additional books to ensure sufficient coverage and diversity are included in our offer.


From Reception onwards, pupils receive a daily phonics lesson with all pupils in each class attending their phonics lesson at the same time, targeted at their current level of attainment, and are encouraged to apply this learning in their reading and writing. Teachers and teaching assistants assess the children half-termly. Interventions are used for children who are significantly behind.

Phonics sets the timetable for all other lessons in school since this essential learning is prioritised.

Discrete phonics teaching continues into Year 3 for pupils who require additional support and learning time to focus on securing their phonics knowledge. We work within all Key Stages to ensure that all pupils who would benefit from extra phonics teaching receive it. Any pupil, who has not reached the expected phonics level by the end of Year 1, as assessed by the national screening check, receives additional phonics intervention within Year 2, so that they can catch up with their peers.

Key Points for Phonics at Robert Arkenstall

The teaching of phonics in the EYFS:
  • We use a schematic synthetic phonics programme. 

  • We teach daily phonic sessions.

  • We have a wide selection of phonetically decodable reading books available.

The teaching of phonics in KS1:
  • We use a schematic synthetic phonics programme. 

  • We teach daily phonic sessions.

  • We assess phonics attainment half-termly.

  • We use interventions for pupils significantly behind.

The teaching of phonics in KS2:
  • Discrete phonics teaching continues in Year 3 for those that need it.

  • Gaps are identified and addressed.


We are proud of our phonics screening results, which currently are 92% and are typically in the high 80% or 90%. 

Pupils at Robert Arkenstall benefit from a high level of phonics knowledge by all staff involved with the teaching of phonics; the consistent use of language throughout the school and the high emphasis that phonics receives in all reading and writing activities.


Find out more about our whole school English Curriculum here