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Ensuring a strong finish to enable a strong start

Check out this blog if you are a phonics leader, a Reception teacher or a Year 1 teacher to make sure you are fully prepared for the start of next academic year with your SSP.

Alongside this blog we are running an online twilight event on the 25th June.

To book a place head to our events page here:

Action Plan - strong finish to enable a strong start
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Download this action plan to use alongside reading this blog.

We want all children to have the best chance of learning to read as quickly as possible. Reading opens up another world for our children!

We need a strong finish this year to enable a strong start next year.

We need a clear shared plan ready to implement on day one of the new academic year.

Priorities for the remainder of this year

  • What is your focus for SSP teaching?

  • Does everybody know the SSP progress expectations by the end of the year?

  • What are your targets for individuals who are behind expected?

  • What additional daily practice will have the biggest benefit?

  • Continue to prioritise and protect interventions.

  • Continue coaching and practice.

Nursery Focus

  • If you have a Nursery on site prepare the children well for Reception:

    • Follow your SSP guidance

    • Model and practice SSP routines

    • Introduce SSP visuals

    • Model and practice oral blending

  • During home visits or new starter information sessions give clear messages to parents and carers around the importance of reading stories and t alking about stories!

End of year assessments

  • Ensure to follow your SSP guidance.

  • Complete assessments with enough time to:

    • Analyse your data

    • Use your data to plan SSP teaching for September

    • Share your data and plan with staff

Reflect on this year strategically

  • What has worked well this year? How will you ensure this continues?

  • What barriers and challenges have occurred? How can you plan to prevent or overcome these?

Confirm staffing and timetabling

  • Will there be any changes in staffing?

  • Think about training for new staff or staff moving a key stage. Ensure this training is complete before September.

  • Ensure you have a clear, shared plan for staffing and timetabling for your SSP lessons and interventions.

Audit your spaces and resources

  • Reflection on phonics and reading spaces used:

    • Do they have the resources and displays needed?

    • Are these visible to the children?

    • Are the spaces quiet and calm?

    • Do you have enough spaces? If not where and how will you create them?

    • Ensure all spaces are ready to use in week one of September.

  • Resource audit:

    • Are your resources organised effectively?

    • Are there additional resources required for next year?

Reception in September

  • Follow your SSP guidance for teaching phonics from the start.

  • Start in week one - do not wait! Be prepared for staggered if needed.

  • Ensure all Reception staff know the focus sounds for each week and progress expectations for Autumn 1.

  • Create and implement classroom systems to:

    • Track children’s progress week by week

    • Identify pupils falling behind straight away

  • Don't underestimate the power of embedding extra daily practice from the start – repetition is key!

A strong start in Year one is just as important

  • Complete and analyse this year’s Reception end of year assessments with enough time to:

    • Plan teaching and train staff

    • Prepare resources

    • Plan interventions to start from week 1

    • Send home reading materials for parents to use over the Summer Holidays

Informing parents throughout the year

  • Plan how you will inform parents regularly on next steps for their children's reading journey. Teach the parents!      For example a reception plan could be:

    • Autumn 1 – oral blending and sounds

    • Autumn 2 – sounds progress and blending

    • Spring 1 – sounds progress and word reading

    • Spring 2 – sounds progress and word reading fluency

    • Summer 1 – sounds progress and storybooks

    • Summer 2 – storybook fluency

  • This might be in the form of information sessions, workshops, short videos.

  • What additional parent support will you offer for those whose children are behind expected?

I hope this blog has provided you with some useful information and ideas to ensure that you are fully prepared for making a strong start in September.

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


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