Downsview Community Primary School

Learning and Achieving Together

Parental Guide to Phonics

At Downsview Community Primary School, phonics is an important daily lesson in Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1. In Year 2, children who did not pass the Phonics Screening Check will also participate in a daily phonics session to ensure they meet national standards. As a school, we follow the DfE's 'Letters and Sounds' scheme which enables children to hear, recognise, write, segment and blend the sounds.
Children are regularly assessed in their Phonics abilities and set in correspondence to the Phase of sounds they are at.  All children, regardless of ability, at the end of Year 1 will undertake the Phonics Screening Check. During the Phonics Screening Check, children are given 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words or 'alien words' which they read aloud to a teacher during a 1:1 test. For the last few years, the benchmark level has been 32/40 and we anticipate it will be the same for the upcoming academic year.

For further information on how Phonics is broken down into Phases, the sounds covered in each Phase, 'Tricky words' children are required to learn at each Phase as well as the terminology used, please have a look at Parents Guide below. Parents are invited to come along and observe a Year 1 and an Early Years Foundation Stage phonics lesson in order to see the basic structure of a Phonics lesson and also the teaching methods used which hopefully you can apply at home with your child (more details to follow nearer the time).
Suggested websites to support your child at home with Phonics
Family Learning:

BBC website:

Phonics play:

N.B this website requires a £12 subscription fee for individual users
ICT games:

Parents Guide to PhonicsClick here

If your child is in Reception please have a look at the 'sound mats' below to see what your child will be learning at Downsview.

Sound Mat A - Click here       Sound Mat B - Click here


While Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1 focus primarily on phonics as a tool to teach reading and spelling, from years 2 upwards, children follow a robust, fast-paced, systematic spelling programme - Read Write Inc Spelling scheme.

The English language is complex as everyone uses the same 44 sounds to speak all English words (may differ slightly due to accents), but the we way we write these sounds down varies. The scheme teaches children how to spell words which have a regular pattern. As well as this, once a week, it focuses on an irregular spelling pattern which needs to be memorised.

The spelling programme is taught daily for roughly 15 minutes. Children practice their spelling knowledge through teacher-led activities, paired work and independent tasks.

As spelling is taught daily and emphasised in all subject areas throughout the day, children will not be given lists of spellings to learn weekly (however teacher's may choose to occasionally send some home if they feel it will be beneficial for a class/ groups of children). Instead, assessment will occur throughout the unit and children will record words they find difficult in their 'spelling logs' which will be available to them during writing sessions. 

Here are the common exception words and spellings that children are required to spell accurately by the end of the academic year in order to reach ARE (Age Related Expectations). Please support your child by practicing these regularly and ensuring they have the opportunity to apply these words in the correct context.

Common Exception Words

Suggested websites to support your children at home with Spellings

BBC Website: