SATS information


Year 2 Phonics Screening Check Autumn 2020


Phonics Screening: Information and guidance for parents


What is the phonics screening check? 

The national phonics screening test was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils. It is a short, statutory assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It aims to identify the children who need extra help so that they can be given support by school to improve their reading skills.

 At Guilsborough C of E Primary School we already identify children and provide early intervention support, however we must comply with the statutory requirement.


Who is it for?

Year 1 pupils will usually take the phonics screening check in June. However, cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2020 means incoming Year 2 pupils did not take the check in Year 1. In the 2020/21 academic year only, it is a statutory requirement for schools to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to Year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 autumn term and return the results to our Local Authority.


How is the check structured? 

It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which a child will read one-to-one with a teacher. Half the words cover phonic skills which are usually covered in Reception, and half the words are based on Year 1 phonics skills.


Is it stressful to test such young children?  

The assessment will be age-appropriate, with children sitting with their teacher and reading one-to-one. It should be an enjoyable activity for children which takes no more than a few minutes.


Does a teacher have to carry out the screening check? 

Yes, the class teacher will carry out the check with the pupils in our school.


Why have you included non-words in the screening check?  

Non-words are an established assessment method of many schools, and are included in many phonics programmes. They are included because they will be new to all pupils, so there won’t be a bias to those with a good vocabulary knowledge or visual memory of words. Pupils who can read non-words should have the skills to decode almost any unfamiliar word.


What happens if a child struggles with the screening check?  

The screening check will identify children who have phonic decoding skills below the level expected for the end of Year 1 and who therefore need extra help. Schools are expected to provide extra help and children will then be able to re-take the assessment in Year 2.

How can I help my child?

At Guilsborough C of E Primary we often check phonic development within our approach to the assessment of reading. This screening forms part of our overall assessment procedure. However, there are a number of things that parents can do to support early reading skill development.


  • Let your child see you enjoying reading yourself – they are influenced by you and what you value!
  • Immerse your child in a love of reading: share books and magazines with your child, take them to the library to choose books, read to them regularly, point out texts around you, e.g. in the street etc
  • Make time for your child to read school books to you regularly –encourage them by pointing to the words and ask them about the story they are reading
  • Help your child to practise reading key words and sounds when these are sent home.
  • Remember! We are here to help your child to do their very best!