We have a structured approach to teach children how to use phonic sounds in their reading and writing, with the aim that children become fluent readers and accurate spellers.

We use Letters and Sounds to teach phonic skills and all children from the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 have a daily timetabled phonics session.

Letters and Sounds is a focused teaching strategy that teaches children how to blend for reading and how to segment for spelling. Letters and Sounds is taught through 6 phases. However, when children at Topcliffe have completed Phase 5 of the Letters and Sounds programme, they will then begin the No Nonsense Spelling Programme, which takes them through to Year 6. Both Letters and Sounds sessions and No Nonsense Spelling sessions follow the structure of review, teach, practise and apply.

When children start in Reception there is a phonics meeting for parents to attend early in the year, introducing the phonics scheme and how they can support at home. Throughout each academic year, parents in Reception and Year 1 are invited to Phonic Workshops to develop their understanding and to work with their child.

Children are tested at the end of Year 1 to see how they have mastered the skill of using phonics, according to the national testing agenda. Children who do not meet the required pass mark in Year 1 will receive further support in Year 2 with phonics and they can resist the test at the end of Year 2.