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Phonics and Spelling


At Merrylands Primary School and Nursery we are passionate about ensuring all children become confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning to make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics, children learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics is of high priority. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn throughout their time in primary school. We want this acquisition of knowledge and skills to support their understanding of reading, writing and spoken language.


We maintain fidelity in the implementation of our phonics teaching by using the FFT Success For All Phonics programme which allows the pupils to learn phonics through a highly structured programme of daily lessons across Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage One, using a variety of fun activities in multi-sensory and systematic ways.

Each session gives an opportunity for pupils to revisit their previous experience, be taught new skills, practice together and apply what they have learned and celebrate their achievements. Each session follows the teaching principles of:

  • Revisit and Review
  • Teach and Model
  • Practise and Apply

Time is incorporated to allow for consolidation so that pupils can secure their skills, knowledge and understanding.

Reading materials support rapid and sustained progress and are carefully matched to the scope and sequence of the phonics programme. A comprehensive set of decodable readers are provided by the programme. These are used alongside additional reading materials that also match the sequence set out in the programme.

Pupils are regularly assessed informally by the teacher within lessons and over a sequence of lessons to ensure they keep up. If pupils require additional support, they are provided with keep up sessions to ensure they stay on track with the rest of the class. Formal assessments are completed every half term using FFT’s Reading Assessment Programme.

Pupils who require additional support are identified using a range of assessment information and are supported through small group or one to one interventions. Interventions are designed and structured to improve reading fluency, comprehension, phonics, and spelling skills.

Parents are encouraged to be as involved as possible in their child’s phonics journey. Parent workshops are held to enable parents to discover how phonics is taught in school and how they can best support their children at home. Information regarding the National Phonics Screening Check is also provided for parents.

All staff are given the skills, knowledge and understanding to deliver high-quality phonics lessons and to achieve strong and sustained pupil outcomes in phonics and early reading and writing.

Spelling is taught in Reception and Key Stage One through a mix of strategies. Children are taught to ask questions where they know there is a spelling choice to be made e.g. “Is it ‘ai’ as in train or ‘ay’ as in play?”  Spellings are learnt for Common Exception words (red words) in Early Years and Year 1, while Year Two learn particular spelling rules and strategies through the Spelling with the Jungle Club programme.

In Key Stage Two, children follow a spelling programme designed by the school which re-enforces earlier phonics teaching.  It focuses on the National Curriculum statutory spellings for each year group together with the spelling patterns and rules progression for Year 3/4 and Year 5/6.


Through the consistent, systematic and daily teaching of the FFT Success For All Phonics programme (Nursery – Year 1) and Spelling with the Jungle Club (Year 2) our aim is that pupils become fluent, confident readers and writers by the end of KS1. Pupils will be equipped with the skills, knowledge and understanding to decode unfamiliar words using a range of strategies. They will have a firm phonic base to support them on their literacy journey through school and they will develop fluency and comprehension skills, take pleasure in exploring the rich literary world around them, acquire a love of reading and flourish as readers. They will also have the knowledge and skills to meet the required pass rate in the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1. Children will continue to build on these skills throughout Key Stage Two, leaving primary school being able to effectively apply spelling rules and patterns they have been taught across the curriculum and achieve well in the Key Stage Two Grammar and Spelling tests. The subject will be continually monitored to measure the impact of the content, design and delivery of the Phonics and Spelling curriculum and the outcomes of this monitoring will be used to drive forward next steps within this curriculum area.