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 using phonics to read a list of words. It will include a mixture of real words and meaningless ‘alien’ words.

To prepare, they’ll 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’ll be retested in year 2.

Learning to read should be about loving stories and words and expanding the imagination, not only stringing sounds together just to sit a test. Drilling children on phonics is ruining their understanding and enjoyment of reading.

It’s time to drop nonsense words and the Phonics Check, but also all government primary school tests in 2020/2021, especially after the distress of a pandemic.

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.

Sign the petition

Support our Drop SATs 2021 campaign by signing the petition to stop all government testing in primary schools in 2020/21.

Tell your family and friends on Facebook

support the campaign

privacy policy