A parents guide to primary testing A parents guide to primary testing

Year 1: Phonics Screening Check

What is it?

In the summer term of year 1, your child will be tested on their ability to use phonics to read a list of words. This list will include a mixture of real and meaningless ‘alien’ words.

To prepare for this test, they will spend valuable reading time learning lists of nonsense words such as ‘snemp’, ‘blurst’ and ‘meft’.

If your child fails the test in year 1, they will be tested again in year 2.

Learning to read should be about loving stories and words and expanding imaginations, not only learning to string sounds together just to sit a test. Drilling children on phonics is taking over from enjoying and understanding in reading. It’s time to drop the nonsense words and the phonics check.

What do the experts say

What do the experts say?

85% of headteachers believe the phonics screening check should not be compulsory and two-thirds of teachers and parents believe it should be scrapped.

Nine out of ten teachers and heads believe the test provides them with no additional useful information about pupils.

Four out of five teachers and heads believe the nonsense words should be dropped from the test.

Experts have pointed out that in recent years, results in the phonics screening check have gone up while those in the year 2 KS1 reading tests have gone down. The test has therefore not contributed to improved reading scores.

What can I do

Learn more

Learn more about phonics and share our research with your child’s teacher and head.

Order our pledge

Ask your head to sign the More Than A Score Pledge which puts children’s overall education ahead of standardised testing.

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