Phonics at SMSA



Our Curriculum has been designed to ensure each and every child can ‘be the best people that can be’ by offering stimulating and awe-inspiring learning experiences with our Catholic values at its heart. 

It is designed to meet the needs of the pupils at St Mary and St Andrew’s, not only by focussing on appropriate subject specific knowledge, skills and understanding as set out in the National Curriculum, but by modelling the virtues given to us by Christ. Our aspirational curriculum intends to develop individual and collaborative learning experiences; a positive growth mindset; a sense of responsibility and provide challenges that take learning beyond the classroom. We are determined that every pupil will learn to read, regardless of their background needs or abilities. Being able to read is the most important skill children will learn during their early schooling, as it enables them to access all other areas of the curriculum and help build a rich vocabulary. We aim to teach high quality phonics, to ensure children have the best possible start in reading and writing.


Phonics is taught each day in EYFS and KS1 using the Lancashire Red Rose letters and sounds scheme, with fidelity. Phonics grouping at our school is varied and fluid, depending on the needs of the cohort and individual children. Reception children are initially taught as a whole class, but as they work through the phonics scheme, they are split into groups based on their academic needs. KS1 children are in small, differentiated groups, focused on the particular phonics phase they are working on. All phonics lessons allow children to practise the blending and segmenting of phonemes/graphemes. All phonics lessons are stimulating and engaging to motivate children, using a range of resources to enhance our phonics scheme. Phonics is not only taught discreetly, but is embedded in all areas of the curriculum, as children are encouraged to use and apply their phonic knowledge. This ensures that children are developing their ‘sticky learning’, resulting in them knowing more, remembering more and using their skills and knowledge in context.

To ensure our children know more and remember more, in every discrete phonics lesson:

  • there will be a focus phonemes for the week for the whole group to be working on. The pace of how quickly a new sound is taught will be decided by the staff member leading the group alongside discussions with the Class Teacher/Phonics Lead. Planning of this phoneme will show a journey across the week so that children become confident in recognising the phonemes on their own and in words.
  • New phonemes will be taught using the correct articulation and terminology and all children will use this terminology in their learning. E.g. phonemes, digraphs, trigraphs, split-digraph.
  • At the start of every lesson phoneme flashcards are used as a quick warm up to refresh and rehearse previous sounds for each phase. This will be differentiated for each group depending on what phase they are learning. Phoneme flashcards can also be used throughout mini–plenaries and independent learning when children are practising phonemes.
  • Lessons follow the structure outlined below:

REVISIT & REVIEW: Revise previously taught sounds and graphemes using flashcards.

TEACH: Introduce new sound and grapheme using flashcards and Interactive Resources.

PRACTISE: Children practise new and revised sounds and graphemes using a variety of resources to match their needs.

APPLY: Children extend their core skills with words and sentences containing the graphemes.


As with all areas of learning, our children’s progress and achievement in phonics will be rigorously monitored, highly valued and reflect the success of every individual. Children will be supported to ‘be the best that they can be’ academically, personally, emotionally, socially and faithfully. By the summer term of Y1, we expect all children to be secure at Phase Five phonics and able to read age-appropriate books independently. We hope for all our children to be independent, fluid and avid readers by the end of KS1.

We use Red Rose Phonics – and this is how we do it!

Lessons are sequenced – with very clear end points. Have a look at our plans to see the order in which we do things.

Let’s do this together!

If your child needs extra help with phonics – then don’t worry! As we formatively assess the children’s  knowledge every day, we can immediately address any misunderstandings or gaps in knowledge. If deeper support is needed then we will facilitate additional sessions throughout the school day from highly trained staff. All of this will be shared with you, our families, so that you can help your child at home too. In the Autumn term of both YR and Y1, we hold a Phonics evening for families – here you will learn how we teach phonics, how to articulate sounds, resources you may wish to try at home and then, in Year One, you will learn how to support your child’s preparation towards the statutory Phonic Screening check which takes place early in the summer term of Y1.

Here is a copy of the powerpoint shared with families at our phonics evening in November 2022 – get in touch if anything needs further explanation!

Unlocking Literacy info for EYFS Sept 2022

Here are a great selection of resources to help you:


In this hyperlink below is every sound you need, in phase order – have a go together, your children will love showing you how clever they are!

Every lesson – every sound, great fun to help at home!