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Elmhurst School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust

Y1 Phonics Screening

In the Summer 2 Term of Year 1 pupils undertake a Phonics Screening Check. The purpose of the check is to confirm that children have learnt phonic decoding to an age-appropriate standard.


The check consists of real and nonsense words which requires the children to decode and blend using their phonic knowledge. There are a total of 40 words which contain sounds the children have learnt in their phonics lessons. Children will sit down on a 1:1 basis with a known adult to complete the official check. This usually takes around 4-9 minutes to complete. Robust phonics teaching ensures that children are well prepared for the check. In Year 1, Summer 1 children are introduced to the concept of nonsense words and encouraged to decode and blend them alongside the skill of reading real words.  


Children who do not pass the check will receive extra support to ensure they can improve their decoding skills, and will then have the opportunity to retake the phonics screening check in Year 2. 

Example 'nonsense' words