St George's Hanover Square

CE Primary School

Working together for the achievement of all.


Phonics in the Reception Class

Children in Reception and KS1 are entitled to a daily discrete phonics session, which should last approximately 20 minutes. To support our delivery of this we follow the Letters and Sounds programme, which is a resource published by the DfES. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

There are six overlapping phases.

The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Teachers.


Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One(Nursery/Reception) Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three(Reception) up to 12 weeks The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1) Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes, which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond) Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.


At the start of the academic year the children were assessed to determine which phase they were working within. The results of this showed that in both Form 1 and Form 2 there was a wide spread of attainment with children working from Phase 2 up to Phase 5. In order to meet all the children’s needs it was felt that teaching attainment groups across Reception and KS1 would be more effective than continuing to teach by year group. The children were split into groups, determined by the phase they were working within.