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St John Fisher Catholic Primary School

Phonics: Curriculum Statement



At St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, we offer a Catholic Education to all pupils. It is our intention to offer a broad and balanced English Curriculum suited to the abilities and aptitude of each pupil, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 28 – Children have a right to an education.

The teaching of early reading and phonics at St John Fisher Catholic Primary School is of the highest priority. We are committed to ensuring that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of ability, need or background. By ensuring that all pupils become masters of core skills, phonics holds the key to the rest of the curriculum and provides a solid foundation for learning throughout their school journey and beyond. We believe that, to the individual, reading matters emotionally, culturally, and educationally because of the economic impacts within society. Therefore, we believe that high quality phonics teaching and learning provides the foundations in order for pupils to become fluent in their reading. At St John Fisher Catholic Primary school, we combine high quality class or group teaching of phonics instruction with exposure to a range of high quality texts and the promotion of reading for pleasure to provide pupils with the skills they need to have a successful start to their lives as readers and creative thinkers. It is our intention for all pupils to be culturally literate individuals with social competence to prepare them for their future lives.

At St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, we intend our pupils to be able to:

  • Recognise, say, and write all phonemes and graphemes within each phase of Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS)
  • Use their phonic knowledge to blend and segment phonetically decodable words
  • Use their phonic knowledge to attempt to read and write, harder to read and spell words
  • Read easily, fluently and with good understanding, age, and ability appropriate texts
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • Develop their knowledge of a wide range of authors and illustrators
  • Write clearly, accurately, and coherently, using phonic knowledge



At St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, we believe that reading and writing are essential core skills. We are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become enthused, engaged, and successful lifelong readers and writers. We teach phonics using a validated, systematic synthetic programme in line with the Reading Framework July 2021 ‘Essential Letters and Sounds’ (ELS). 

To support this, we implement the following:


  • An Early Reading and Phonics Lead to monitor and improve standards in early reading and phonics across Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
  • A curriculum that meets the needs of all pupils (including SEND and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds)
  • A consistent, systematic synthetic high quality, whole school approach to teaching phonics which begins when pupils enter Reception and is carried through until at least the point where pupils can read almost all words fluently. The school has adopted ELS. ELS - Essential Letters & Sounds (
  • A cohesive and consistent approach to teaching phonics, where daily lessons follow the same structure using the ELS programme:

Review previously taught graphemes, previously taught harder to read and spell words, model segmenting and orally blending up to eight words using review sounds and the new sound taught.  Children read up to four words with GPC’s that have already been taught, aiming for a quick, fluent reading.

Teach one new harder to read and spell word.  Using a ‘drum roll’ introduce the new sound showing good modelling using ‘me, then you’.  The children are taught how to write the grapheme using the mnemonic from the grapheme card. 

Practise reading up to eight words containing the new grapheme using ‘me, then you’.  Using the grapheme cards from the beginning of the lesson, children read previously taught graphemes with the new grapheme ‘hidden’ among them.  Children practise segmenting and orally blending words using ‘robot arms’ and ‘blending hands’.    

Apply.  Children read captions or sentences that include the new sound and harder to read and spell words.  On Day 5 and during review weeks, children read a decodable book, where they will practise reading the graphemes taught in the context of a book.

Review.  Using the grapheme cards, IWB and word cards, children review all learning from the lesson. 

  • Regular reading opportunities and story times for all pupils in Early Years    Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
  • A phonics-screening check for Year 1 pupils in the summer term
  • Daily discrete high quality phonics lessons to ensure phonics teaching is prioritised whereby pupils learn new phonemes and graphemes, improve their ability to segment and blend sounds, and their ability to apply this knowledge into their reading and writing
  • Teaching in whole class groups in Early Years Foundation Stage. Currently, in Year 1 and Year 2, phonics is taught in phase groups to ensure teaching is targeted so that every pupil achieves at an appropriate pace
  • A scheme of work where pupils learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words
  • A clear progression through the programme so that pupils are taught from the simple to the more complex grapheme phoneme correspondences and harder to read and spell words
  • Planned opportunities throughout the curriculum to extend phonics teaching and learning beyond ‘dedicated phonics time.’  Consequently, learning is applied, reinforced and relevant connections are identified for all pupils
  • Ongoing formative assessment to ensure every pupil’s phonics provision is clearly matched to their ability. This will result in the swift identification of those experiencing difficulty and fluid movement between groups
  • Keep up sessions offering immediate additional practice for those pupils who are identified as not keeping up with their peers. Identified pupils will have short intervention with a focus on pre teaching and overlearning. This is aimed at building confidence and successfully retaining what they have learnt
  • Close monitoring of pupils making the slowest progress through:
    • Summative assessments (each half term)
    • Data analysis (each term)
  • Monitoring of teaching and learning to ensure phonics teaching and learning is of high quality and consistent across the school
  • A rich learning environment, with class displays and table prompts showing sounds and key words
  • Regular staff training to develop subject knowledge and confidence to ensure that phonics teaching and learning is consistent across Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1
  • Planned opportunities for home learning tasks to consolidate and extend knowledge and skills ensuring that we work collaboratively with parents and carers


At St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, the impact will be seen through:

  • Half termly assessments to baseline all pupils
  • Internal monitoring including learning walks, lesson observations, pupil conferencing, whole school moderation, book, and planning scrutiny. This will ensure teaching, learning and assessment is of high quality and consistent across the school.

Through implementing the above:

  • Most pupils will be able to read age appropriate books by the end of Year 1
  • Pupils will be confident in their phonic knowledge
  • Pupils will be able to blend and segment words confidently
  • Most pupils will pass the Phonics Screening Check
  • Pupils learn to love reading through fun but challenging phonic activities
  • A culture where a secure knowledge of phonic sounds enables reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum


The leader for Phonics is Caroline Courtney.