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Puss Bank School and Nursery

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Phonics Intent

At Puss Bank School & Nursery, we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations for learning to make the successful development needed for fluent reading and writing; by introducing and identifying sounds that they have heard around them from a young age and linking these to how they are written. Phonics at Puss Bank follows the Primary National Strategy of Letters and Sounds. Using a structured systematic phonics programme, our children learn to blend sounds to read, and segment words to support their spelling. From Nursery up to Year 2, our phonic sessions are progressive and are delivered using the process: review, teach, practise and apply.

Phonics Design:

Phase One Letters and Sounds is taught in our Nursery. Our children are exposed to a language rich environment which immerses them in the opportunity to develop their Communication, Language and Literacy skills. Fun and engaging speaking and listening activities are provided daily and more discrete phonics sessions are taught twice a week in classroom times. Throughout their time in Nursery, our children are taught and enjoy activities from all seven aspects of Phase One and are introduced to Phase Two. In order to support our children’s phonics knowledge, we use Jolly Phonics as a mnemonic multi-sensory aid, from Nursery up to Year one. We aim for our children to leave Nursery with a good awareness of rhyme and alliteration, to begin to orally blend and segment sounds of spoken words and have some awareness of phoneme-grapheme correspondence.    

At Puss Bank, phonics is delivered daily as an explicit lesson across Reception and KS1 and is taught as a whole class to ensure quality first teaching for all children. In addition, children receive regular opportunities to apply and practise the skills of grapheme phoneme correspondences, blending and segmenting during all reading and writing activities. We support pupils to practise, and apply their skills by providing them with text containing words that can be decoded using the letter-sound patterns they have already been taught. In Reception the children take home three books a week; one linked to the Letters and Sounds phase they are being taught, one colour banded book (which provides opportunity to read high-frequency words) and one library book to share at home (to practise their use of story language and develop their comprehension skills). In Years 1 and 2, the children take home four books a week; a combination of books linked to the Letters and Sounds phase they are secure in, guided reading books, colour banded books and library books.

Phases Two, Three and Four are taught progressively in Reception, Phase Five is taught in Year 1 and Phase Six in Year 2. Year Two also follow the whole school spelling approach using the No Nonsense scheme of work. Children are closely monitored, and regularly assessed throughout the phases on their phonic knowledge which is then used as the basis for intervention.

Phonics lessons are taught daily for 20-30 minutes. They are engaging and active sessions, which are tailored to the precise needs of the class. The language and terminology of phonics, for example, phoneme, grapheme, digraph etc. is used consistently by both teachers and pupils to ensure consistency and across the phases, and to activate the long-term memory of the letter-sound relationships. In phonics sessions, children are actively taught the three main skills to support decoding and blending:

  • Grapheme Phoneme correspondences (GPCs). This is the teaching of all of the phonemes in the English language and ways of writing them down. These sounds are taught in a specific order.
  • Blending. Children are taught how to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and they are able to merge the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. The skill is vital in learning to read.
  • Segmenting. Children are taught to segment. This skill is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words.

Letters and Sounds Scheme



Phonic Knowledge and Skills



Phase One


Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.




Phase two


Children learn grapheme-phoneme correspondence for 19 letters of the alphabet. They use grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC) to blend separate sounds together into whole words to read, and phoneme-grapheme correspondence (PGC) to segment whole words into separate sounds. Children will begin to read and spell VC (it) and CVC (can) words, read simple captions and be introduced to two-syllable words. Children will learn to read Phase 2 high-frequency ‘tricky’ words.





Phase Three


Children learn the remaining 7 letters of the alphabet (one letter) and additional 19 Graphemes which consist of Diagraphs (two letters) and Trigraphs (three letters), such as, ee, ar, igh, ear. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the ‘simple code,’ i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language. Children will learn to read Phase 3 high-frequency ‘tricky’ words and learn to write Phase 2 high frequency ‘tricky’ words.




Phase Four


No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, such as, swim, stand, toast and drench and blend and segment polysyllabic words. Children will learn to read Phase 4 high-frequency ‘tricky’ words and learn to write Phase 3 high frequency ‘tricky’ words.




Phase Five


Now we move onto the ‘complex code.’ Children learn new graphemes, plus alternative pronunciations for these new graphemes and those graphemes that they already know. Children will learn to read Phase 5 high-frequency ‘tricky’ words and learn to write Phase 4 high frequency ‘tricky’ words.



Phase Six


  • Working on learning new ways of spelling phonemes for which one or more spellings are already known, and learning some words with each spelling, including a few common homophones.
  • learning to spell more words with contracted forms
  • learning the possessive apostrophe (singular), for example, the girls book
  • distinguishing between homophones and near homophones
  • adding suffixes to spell longer words, for example, ‘-ment’, -ful’, ‘-less’, ‘-ly’