Key Stage 1 - Phonic Screening Tests

What is Phonic Screening Test?

This is a compulsory test. All children in Year 1 across the UK and some children in Year 2 if they did not take the test or achieve the required results.

What does it involve?

The test lasts approximately 10 minutes depending on how quick the child can read the words. The teacher will sit with your child one-to-one and go through the test with them. Your child will probably see this as nothing different to what they do when they are reading together.

The test has 40 words and non-words, which are divided into two sections.

One with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters.

Your child will be given an opportunity to practice some words before they start the test.

The non-words will be displayed with an image of monster or alien so that the child thinks it is their name and not get confused by the word.

What are non words/pseudo words/nonsense words/ or alien words?

These are words that are phonetically decodable but not actual words. These are put into the test so that the teacher can assess if your child can decode a word.

Does my child have to take the test?

This is a compulsory test all children in Year 1 will take the test.

When is the test for 2020?

Week beginning Monday 8 June 2020.

When will I be informed of the results?

The school should inform parents during the Summer Term. If your child has found the test difficult the school will have a clear action plan on how to support your child and you can get advise and guidance on supporting your child at home.

What do the results mean?

Your child will be given a score out of 40. The national threshold is set by Department of Education. Your child will be given a mark on whether or not they fall within, below or above the standard.

Over the past few years the national pass threshold has been set at 32. Your child would need to read 32 words out of 40.

If your child falls below this, they will be given extra support to develop their phonics and then re-tested in Year 2.

These results will be used to analyse how effective the school is doing in their teaching. OFSTED also use these results in their inspections.

How can I help my child at home?

Reading to your child is key at an early age so that they get used to listening to words and encourage them to read aloud.

Going to the library and picking books at the right level for them to read.

Lots of praise and encouragement, reading text around you.

Let them say the sounds out loud and practice joining the words together.

Singing phonics songs and rhymes, ask your teacher what resources they use and look things up on YouTube, websites and apps.


Nonsense words song

Watch this video on nonsense words - hib, maff, shum, zoop etc. 


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