Phonics Screening Check

What is the phonic screening check?

In the summer term of Year 1, the children complete a statutory phonics screening check.  This is a short, light-touch assessment introduced by the Government for the first time in 2012 to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

The screening comprises a list of 40 real and nonsense-words (pseudo words), which your child read one-to-one with a teacher. Pseudo words allow the assessment to focus purely on decoding phonic knowledge.  As pseudo-words are new to all children, they do not favour those with a good vocab knowledge or large sight word memory. The words in the screening incorporate phonics skills acquired by the children in both Year 1 and Year R. It is conducted in a quiet room without distractions.


Section 1 Section 1 of the test comprises 12 pseudo-words and 8 real words.  It focuses on GPCs that are usually introduced first to children learning to decode using phonics. Section 2 Section 2 of the test comprises 8 pseudo-words and 12 real words.  It focuses on GPCs that are introduced later, and graphemes that correspond to more than one phoneme.   Pseudo-words – acceptable pronunciations.  Strict guidance is given in regards to the acceptable pronunciations of the pseudo-words.  These samples are taken from section 2 of the 2012 check.  

This item uses the ‘spl’ from ‘split’ and rhymes with ‘saw’



This item uses the ‘g’ from ‘girl’ and rhymes with ‘first’


The National threshold of achievement in the phonics screening is 80%. Those children in Year 1 who do not meet the assessment threshold will complete the screening again during the summer of Year 2.