The Russell School


Our Phonics curriculum is shaped to reflect the unique needs of our pupils to ensure it is inclusive and relevant to every child. Reading and writing are key life skills; our curriculum prioritises the need to equip children with the phonetic skills and knowledge which are fundamental in order to grow into confident, fluent readers and writers.

Our teaching of sequenced phonic knowledge builds on pupils’ prior understanding and equips them with basics skills for reading and writing, including:

  • knowing all letter sounds
  • segmenting words (supports spelling ability)
  • blending sounds to read words

Through a structured and consistent approach to the teaching of phonics, pupils acquire phonic knowledge and gradually learn to apply this when reading carefully matched texts.

The Phonics curriculum progressively teaches knowledge and skills from Nursery up to Year 2, to ensure high standards of teaching and learning which build on prior learning. We use ‘Letters and Sounds’ to teach the 44 phonemes that make up all sounds required for reading and spelling.

Children are systematically taught the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns (graphemes) which represent them:

  • Phase One phonics (Nursery) - developing speaking and listening skills
  • Phase Two phonics (moving into Reception) - systematic phonics work

In daily sessions, children:

  • revise previous learning
  • learn new graphemes/phonemes
  • practise together and apply what they have learnt

Children also have:

  • regular reading sessions with an adult at school
  • books to read at home (matching current phonics levels)
  • regular practise in applying phonics knowledge

The impact and measure of our curriculum is the extent to which children are equipped with skills and knowledge that will help them to read for enjoyment and ideally become lifelong readers. Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. This way children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.

Teachers regularly assess the children's phonics knowledge using:

  • phonics tracker
  • reading milestones
  • Reading Early Learning Goal (EYFS) 

Regular assessments inform planning and allow teachers to identify any gaps in learning. Attainment in phonics is measured by the Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.  Extra support is provided to those in Year 2 who have not passed phonics screening in Year 1 and individual and small group target teaching is used to address the needs of children with gaps in their phonics knowledge.