Henbury Court Primary Academy



We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. All children in Reception and Year 1 take part in whole class 25-minute discrete phonics sessions each day. Children also practice and apply their phonics in handwriting and writing sessions as well as during active reading sessions.

Our reading critical pathway sets out the milestones which children need to demonstrate they have mastered before they can move on to new learning. In Reception, the sequence has been designed to give enough time to teach each phase twice if needed so that teachers have the time to be assessment led and ensure that children have learnt what has been taught rather than marching through content. Our critical pathway also sets out the order in which ‘key words’ (high frequency and common exception words) are taught.

In Reception, children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery and any child who does not meet age related expectations in Year 1 will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to catch up through a range of  bespoke approaches such as 1-1 reading and set interventions such as Project X CODE to support pupils to ‘catch-up’ as quickly as possible.   

The lowest attaining  20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have impact.

Click here to see our “At a glance” guide to Early Ready