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The Belfry CE VA Primary School, Overstrand

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Phonics and Spelling



At the Belfry we adhere to the 2014 Primary National Curriculum Key Stages 1 & 2 ‘Framework for English which states that:


Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.


If children are still struggling to decode and spell, they need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly.


Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words.


Pupils who are still struggling to decode need to be taught to do this urgently through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers.




Synthetic phonics teaching (following the Letters and Sounds scheme of work) is taught on a daily basis in EYFS and Key Stage One to support reading and writing. The definition of ‘synthetic phonics’ is an accelerated form of phonics where children are taught all letter sounds very quickly after starting school. This method of teaching continues throughout Key Stage One where children continue to extend their learning to using digraphs and trigraphs. Pupils are taught phonics through isolated sessions daily, and is placed at the heart of the KS1 curriculum, whereby it forms part of all subjects of our curriculum, supporting children’s reading and writing.  Our half termly assessment highlights any whole class needs, in addition to any children who may need additional support with their phonetic knowledge. Those children are supported with their individual needs through 1:1 or small group flashcard intervention.


The Year One Phonics Screening Check takes place in June, and children who have not yet met the required standards continue a recursive approach to phonics beyond this.  Additional teaching is facilitated where required for individuals or small groups in KS2.


There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for practitioners and teachers. Although the period of time spent on each phase has been changed for the needs of our children. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.



We have intentionally chosen to take a longer teaching period for phase 2 and 3 to focus on the application of those sounds into writing and reading words.   




Spellings are taught discretely in Key Stage Two and is taught discretely in Year One and Year Two alongside their phonics lessons.


Spellings are chosen from the National Curriculum – and any previous years’ spellings that are misspelt as a class - and discretely taught to the whole class on a Friday. The spellings are taught through morphology (the structure of a word), etymology (the understanding of the origin of words), spelling rules and phonetic rules. These spellings are sent home via the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check method to practise at home, with a daily test Monday to Thursday, whereby the teacher recursively teaches and applies the previously mentioned approach to teaching spellings. The children are formally tested on the Friday – to enable us to spot any children who need additional support or any whole class misspelt words - before their new spellings are introduced.  


Throughout all written work, high expectations placed on spelling words correctly. Children are taught to proof read for errors, use the resources available to them to spell correctly (such as the phonics board and common exception words/spellings on the wall to support their spelling) and if a spelling is underlined by their teacher in their written word they need to independently use the resources available to them to correct the spelling. 

Spelling Systems

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