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Flash Ley Community Primary School

Believe to Achieve


Phonics Testing

What is the Phonics Screening Check?


The Phonics Screening Check 2023 (or Phonics Screening Test) is a test to assess and show how well your child can use and apply the phonics skills that they’ve learnt up to the end of Year 1. It takes place every year. The Phonics Screening Check is also an opportunity for teachers to identify students who need help with their phonics.


In simple terms, a Phonics Screening Check is designed to check whether pupils have a good understanding of what they have learnt in phonics so far.


Every child in Year 1 in England has to take the Phonics Screening Check. The child take the test during a one-to-one sitting with a teacher.


When is the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check in 2023?

This year’s Phonics Screening Check will take place in the week beginning Monday 6th June.


How does the Phonics Screening Check work?

The Phonics Screening Check is defined by the DfE as “short, light-touch assessments.” During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (i.e. decode) 40 words. Most of these words are real words, but some are also pseudo-words. A pseudo-word is a fake word that features strings of letters that resemble real words.


The test is divided into two sections. In section one, children are asked to recognise simple word structures and Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) from the earlier phases of the phonics curriculum.


Section two of the Phonics Screening Check is a bit trickier. Here, children need to recognise GPCs from later stages of the phonics curriculum. They will also be exposed to graphemes that correspond to more than one phoneme and they will need to decode them.


There isn’t a time limit for the Phonics Screening Check, but it usually takes around eight to ten minutes.


Most children pass their Phonics Screening Tests. If a child doesn’t pass and doesn’t meet the expected standard, they will be given the appropriate support with their phonics to help them eventually reach the expected standard. They will then re-take the Phonics Screening Check the following year.