Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
The phonics screening check is designed to see if children have learnt phonic decoding to the appropriate standard. On this page you’ll find all the information you need to understand the phonics screening check. Free phonics screening check past papers are included at the bottom.
Our Phonics Screening Check Papers are Free to Download with No Registration Necessary
What does the year 1 phonics screening check consist of ?
It is designed to be short, light-touch and non-stressful for children. It consists of 40 words – half are real , half are made up. Children will be shown each word in turn and will be asked to read it out loud to a teacher. The test normally takes around five to ten minutes per child.
Children should not be aware that they are being tested, it should feel like part of their normal phonics activity.
Why are made up words (non-words) included in the test?
They are included so that teachers can be sure that vocabulary knowledge is not slanting the results. All children will be seeing these new words for the first time. The children are shown the non-words alongside a picture of an imaginary creature and are told it is the name of that particular creature.
Example words include: Star and Shelf.
Non-Words could include: Dov and Vead
What level should children reach in the year 1 phonics screening check?
The threshold can vary but is normally 32 out of 40 (or around 80%). We need to be aware at this stage that the age gap between children is particularly marked at this age. Some younger and less mature children will be a year younger than some of their peers – that’s about 15% at this age so can make a huge difference. As a result you can expect some children not to do as well because of their age.
These age differences become less marked as children get older (in year six the year difference means there is only a 10% disparity).
How can parents help their children with the year 1 phonics screening check?
It isn’t an exam to be passed but of course parents can get involved at an early stage, helping their children with phonics and learning to read.
This is particularly important for younger children (within their year group) where they may be a full year younger than others in the same year (in year 2 this is a 15% difference in age).
If parents want to help then a good start point is the international phonics alphabet which is included here:
Past Phonics Screening Check Papers
Additionally the free to download Phonics tests below can be used. There are 4 sets of past papers. Each set includes practice material, assessment materials, an answer sheet and scoring guidance.