Highfield Primary School

Consideration Aspiration Responsibility Enjoyment

Bridgenorth Avenue, Urmston, Manchester, M41 9PA


0161 748 6096

Phonic Screening Check

After disruption due to Covid, the typical assessment schedule for EYFS, KS1 and KS2 is back up and running for May/June 2022.


What is the Phonic Screening Check?

Children in year 1 throughout the country will all be taking part in a phonics screening check during June. Children in year 2 will also take the check if they did not achieve the required result in year 1 or if they have not taken the test before.

The phonic screening check is designed to assess whether children have learnt phonic decoding and blending skills to the national expected standard.


What happens during the Phonic Screening Check?

The test contains 40 words. Each child will take the test on a one-to-one basis with their class teacher. The test will take approximately ten minutes per child, although all children are different and will complete the check at their own pace. The list of words that the children read are a combination of 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (nonsense words).


Pseudo Words: The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of an alien. This is a familiar concept to the children at Highfield. The children are aware that an alien is telling them that the word is NOT real, and they must simply decode the word and not try to make sense of it.




Your child's Phonic Screening result will be reported to you in their end of year school report. It will tell you how many correct words they read out of a possible 40 and if they passed.


How can I help my child prepare for the phonics screening?


Regular practise of both the phonics sounds and reading real and nonsense words is the best way to help prepare a child for the phonics screening. This will be done in many ways in school, including during their daily RWI phonics lesson, targeted small group interventions, mock phonics screening practises and whole class games/activities.  It is really important however that this work is consolidated at home. check out the ideas below for some fun and exciting ways to do this. If you feel that your child is struggling with some specific sounds then please ask your child's teacher for some targeted resources focusing on that sound.

 Links to fun games to play at home

  • Spooky sounds is a fun game good for practising targeted phonics sounds
  • A bingo game good for children reading words with targeted sounds in them
  • A fun word generator to create words for children to read focusing on targeted sounds
  • A great online word search game to help children read words with varieties of sounds
  • A good range of free games for phase 4 phonics*
  • A good range of free games for phase 5 phonics*
  • Phonics play is a very useful website. Under the 'resources' tab on this website there are lots of fun games to play. Particularly useful are the 'flash card speed trial' to help with learning individual sounds, and the 'buried treasure', 'dragon’s den' or 'picnic on Pluto' games for practising reading real and nonsense words. Currently (September 2020) the site is offering universal free access with the username march20 and the password home, but even if that changes then some games are still available free without subscription.


 * Letters and sounds, the official government released phonics resources use phases 1-5 to separate the phonics sounds, whereas RWI uses sets 1-3. The website follows letters and sounds grouping of the sounds into phases, but roughly they equate to RWI book colours as:

Red, green and pink – phase 2/ RWI set 1 and 2    

 Orange and yellow books- phase 2 and 3/ RWI set 2 and 3   

Blue and grey books- phase 3, 4 and 5/ RWI set 3

During the phonics screening they will be tested on all Set 1, 2 and 3 RWI sounds (phases 1-5)


Games and activities to print off and use at home


Practise reading phonics screening words

As well as playing all of these fun games we recommend that you regularly set aside a short amount of time (roughly 5 minutes several times a week) to practise reading some words in the style of the phonics screening check. These power point resources below offer you some good opportunities to do that.




Phonics is taught every day to all children in Reception and Key Stage one, through the delivery of Read, Write Inc.

For more information on how reading is taught at Highfield please click here to learn more about RWI.


Contact Us

Bridgenorth Avenue, Urmston, Manchester, M41 9PA

0161 748 6096