Our Approach to Phonics

Phonics and Early Reading at Sandiway Primary School

At Sandiway Primary School, we aim to develop confident, fluent and passionate readers and writers from an early stage. We use 'Essential Letters and Sounds' which is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP). Phonics is taught daily and we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represents sounds and that these are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise the different graphemes that they will see when they are reading or writing.

Our phonics teaching starts as soon as the children start in Reception and it follows a specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies. As a result, our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. 

At Sandiway we also model these strategies in shared reading and writing outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.


We have a strong focus on the development of language and language skills for our children because we know that speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.


How we Teach Phonics

At Sandiway we:

  • Follow Essential Letters and Sounds which has a four part lesson structure and teaching sequence (review, teach, practise, apply) which promotes independence, resilience and success in all our learners.
  • Teach children that phonics helps us to read and write.
  • Whole class teaching allows all children to access Quality First Teaching, catch up sessions and interventions are also provided for those children who need more practice and support.
  • Ensure that all phonics teaching is delivered with pace and passion.
  • Use 100% decodable books in phonics lessons so that children can directly apply their new knowledge and phonic skills at an appropriate level. We use a range of decodable books which have been carefully organised to match the sounds your child is learning.
  • Invite all parents to attend phonics and reading workshops to support their children with the development of their child’s phonics skills.
  • Classrooms are well resourced with phonic working walls and resources which are readily available empowering children to independently make correct spelling choices.

Phonics and Reading Books

When the children are starting to learn the phonic code it is important that the books they read are closely matched to the letter sounds they are learning. The books should give the children confidence and help develop fluency, we want our children to feel confident and have a sense of achievement.

Children also have the opportunity to choose a quality picture book that they can share with an adult at home.

Phonics Evening- Autumn Term

Each Autumn we hold a Phonics Information Evening for Parents. The aim is to show parents how phonics is taught at Sandiway following ELS programme. It provides guidance to our parents and offers ideas to support their young reader.

Assessment of Phonics

We track our children throughout each Phonic Phase to monitor both achievement and progress. 

Our main emphasis on the assessment of phonics is on how effectively the children are able to apply their learning into reading and writing. This provides the evidence that the phonic learning is fully embedded.

If necessary, further support through targeted interventions is provided for children to enable them to keep up with the phonics programme.

Additional support for phonics is also put in place for those children in KS2 that still require support.

The lowest 20% of children are heard read at least once per week by a teacher or teaching assistant, in addition to the taught reading sessions. Many of these children are also supported through the Nessy Reading and Spelling programme.

Phonics Screening Check

Year One Children participate in the Statutory Phonic Screening Check in the Summer Term.

Previous data for comparison:

Year School National Local Authority (CWaC)
2016 100% 81% 79%
2017 93% 81% 81%
2018 93% 83% 80%
2019 93% 82% 80%
2020 84% (Y2) N/A N/A
2021 100%(Y2) N/A N/A
2022 90% 75.5%   
2023 90% 79.5%  


Useful Links


To find out how to say the sounds correctly click on the link below: Findout more about our phonics SSP:

Webpage updated September 2023

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Sandiway Primary School

Weaverham Road, Sandiway, Cheshire, CW8 2ND

01606 883298head@sandiway.cheshire.sch.uk