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The Department for Education tells us that “when phonics is taught in a structured way – starting with the easiest sounds and progressing through to the most complex – it is the most effective way of teaching young children to read.” Recognising this, we teach our youngest pupils to read using a systematic synthetic phonics programme.

At Broad Chalke, we use the Unlocking Letters and Sounds (ULS) SSP programme which is validated by the Department for Education. The scheme builds progressively, has a familiar daily structure for pupils and also encourages pupils to develop a love of books through integrated guided reading. Pupils begin ULS the week they start at Broad Chalke, in EYFS, and continue having daily lessons until the end of Autumn Term in Year 2. You can discover more about our scheme by reading the document at the bottom of this page.


At Broad Chalke we implement:

  • A consistent, systematic high quality, whole school approach to teaching phonics which begins almost immediately as children enter Reception and is carried through until at least the point where children can read almost all words fluently. The Unlocking Letters and Sounds programme (2021) is used in its entirety in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2 whilst those children who continue to require phonics support will follow elements of the programme.
  • A consistent delivery of the programme, ensuring that all staff follow the same structure: revisit, teach, practise, apply and revise.
  • Daily, morning lessons to ensure phonics teaching is prioritised following the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression (this document can be found on our school website).
  • Teaching whole class in EYFS, Year 1 and Year 2. In other year groups, phonics is sometimes taught in ability groups where appropriate to ensure teaching is targeted so every child achieves at an appropriate pace.
  • Ongoing formative assessment to ensure every child ‘keeps up’ with the phonics provision.
  • Keep up sessions offering immediate additional practice for those children who are identified as not keeping up with their peers. Identified children will take part in regular, short 1:1 interventions or if appropriate in small groups following the programmes interventions.
  • Fully decodable reading books that are matched to the individual child’s current phonic knowledge.
  • Reading sessions weekly in small groups. Children read and re-read a carefully selected text where they focus on: accuracy, automaticity (rapid recall of whole known words), prosody (reading with expression), understanding, word meaning and retrieving key information.
  • Support for parents and carers on how to support their child with phonics at home.
  • Regular staff training to develop subject knowledge, confidence and ensure phonics teaching and learning is consistent across EYFS, Key Stage 1 and 2 (where necessary).
  • The monitoring of teaching and learning to ensure phonics is of high quality and consistent across the school.

At Broad Chalke, the impact will be seen through:

  • Internal monitoring including learning walks, lesson observations, pupil conferencing and 1:1 reading. This will ensure teaching, learning and assessment is of high quality and consistent across the school.
  • Pupils commenting and portraying a love for reading during pupil conferencing.
  • External monitoring of phonics and early reading through advisory visits from DSAT.  This provides support and feedback to ensure that our delivery and assessment of the Unlocking Letters and Sounds programme is of high quality.
  • Continuous, effective support for children who are not keeping up with their peers.
  • Year 1 phonics screening check and Y2 phonics screening rechecks.
  • Results from termly National  tests (NTS).

The Phonics Screening Check

In the summer term of Year 1, all pupils across the country are tested on their phonic knowledge. This helps to identify pupils who need further support in learning to read. As part of this test, pupils are asked to read forty words using their phonic knowledge to segment the word and blend it if they need to. Please do speak to our Year 1 teacher if you have further questions about the check.

Reading Books

Pupils who are still learning phonics have reading books which are matched to their phonic gaps. This means that pupils have the opportunity to regularly revisit sounds that have just been learnt or that they are struggling with. Pupils are encouraged to read the same book multiple times at home to support their decoding. Only once pupils can decode what they read are they able to begin to develop a good understanding of what they read.