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Be Prepared for the Phonics Screening Check (PSC)

Action Plan - be prepared for the phonics screening check
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Check out this blog if you are a phonics leader or a Year 1 teacher to make sure you are fully prepared for the PSC.

Alongside this blog we are running an online twilight event on the 18th April.

To book a place head to our events page here:

What is the phonics screening check and what is it's purpose?

  • The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.

  • It will identify pupils who need extra help to improve their decoding skills.

  • The check consists of 20 real words and 20 pseudo-words that pupils read aloud to the check administrator.

  • All children in Year 1 take the check plus any children in Year 2 who did not pass the check the previous year.

  • Please note that passing the check does not mean that a child is a confident fluent reader as it only checks decoding skills. It's a check point - not an end point.

Administering the check

  • The member of staff administering the check needs to be an expert phonics teacher and a familiar adult. This is usually the class teacher or the phonics reading leader.

  • Make sure that all members of staff administering the check have accessed the government guidance available on the government website. Here is a link to some of the guidance available 2024 phonics screening check: administration guidance - GOV.UK ( Please make sure to check that you have the most up to date guidance.

  • Administer the check in a familiar room. You want the children to be comfortable.

  • Plan a timetable of when you will administer the check to which children, thinking carefully about which day and what time will be best for which children.

  • Ensure to keep phonics lessons running as normal the week of the check.

Our aim is to ensure all children to start year 2 as accurate readers!

  • Children need to be accurate decoders before they can become fluent and enthusiastic readers.

  • It’s important that everyone in the year 1 team are all aware of any gaps in children’s sound knowledge and have a shared goal to support these children to become confident decoders.

  • Ensure that everyone is using the same language and the same decoding strategy.

Ensure your SSP lessons are of the highest quality

  • Practice the parts of your SSP lessons which will make the biggest difference to the children’s sound knowledge and word reading.

  • Focus on the accuracy of word reading.

Teach to the gaps!

  • How do you know the children’s up to date sound knowledge and the gaps?

  • Display a copy of the children’s gaps in sound knowledge, so all adults in the reading team can see children’s sound gaps at a glance.

  • Use this to plan your phonics lessons and to target additional interventions.

  • Ensure to edit this document so that it is up to date and relevant.

Revisit focus sounds and practice accurate word reading multiple times a day

  • When will you review focus sounds throughout the day?

  • What will this look like? (speed minutes, partner practice…)

  • Who will lead this? How will you ensure it happens?

  • When will you use the phonics screen materials? It's important that all children are familiar with the layout of the PSC. You can use past paper and practice paper materials from the government website.

  • Ensure children have had enough exposure to pseudo words.

Protect additional practice time for focus pupils

  • Which children are your focus children? These children may well need additional practice time.

  • Who will provide their extra practice? Are they trained?

  • Timetable extra daily practice in the ensure that it happens.

  • How will you protect this time?

  • Create a plan for the leading adult to teach the PSC sound gaps and practice reading them in words. Think about how many weeks you have left before the check.

Get parents involved!

  • What resources and or videos will you send home during term time and during any holidays?

  • Have you already or will you provide a PSC parent information session?

Guidance from your SSP provider

  • It's really important to book onto your specific SSP guidance. Most SSPs provide guidance on how best to prepare for the PSC. Take advantage of this!

  • This might be in the form of webinars, blogs, top tips on websites, zoom sessions etc.

  • You could always contact them directly to ask advice too!

I hope this blog has provided you with some useful information and ideas to ensure that you are fully prepared for the PSC.

For more information about us and the support we offer please go to English Hubs - St Wilfrid's English Hub (


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