Phonics Lead – Stacey Burke


At St Mary’s, we are passionate about instilling a love of reading in all of our children. Our children will become articulate,  confident and enthusiastic readers.  We believe that early reading is underpinned by excellent systematic synthetic phonics teaching. The systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority throughout the early years and Key Stage 1, with the aim of rapidly building phonics skills, including blending and segmenting. Our ‘can-do’ approach ensures all children, regardless of their background, achieve their full potential.


Our structure of teaching Phonics is derived from the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme, which outlines six phonic phases. Rhymes, pictures and memorable phrases are used to aid children’s retention and recall of the grapheme/phoneme correspondence for reading and spelling. The dynamic and engaging materials delivered in the daily lessons ensure a clearly defined structure to the teaching of phonics.

Phonics lessons are a daily occurrence, with no exceptions, as the continuity and pace of the programme is key to accelerating the progress of children’s reading development. All staff in school are trained by an accredited Letters & Sounds trainer, in conjunction with the Westgarth English Hub. In this way, daily provision is consistent and uninterrupted.

Teacher guides for each stage are provided to allow teachers and adults working with children to feel confident in their own subject knowledge, knowing they are fulfilling the national phonics criteria and enabling each child to achieve their potential.

Alongside the ‘Letters and Sounds’ Programme, staff follow the School’s effective principles of instruction to ensure a consistent and rigorous approach to teaching and learning:

  1. Retrieve
  2. Model
  3. Check for understanding (high quality questioning)
  4. Applied/Independent learning
  5. Review

Through this model, children learn to develop and apply new skills while also providing opportunities to further apply these skills within fun and engaging activities and through continuous provision for foundation Stage and Year 1.

Intervention is planned for those Year 2 pupils who have not passed the phonics screening in Year 1 and for those pupils in who are falling below expected levels.

Reception children are involved in a phonics research intervention,  led by Dr Sally Neaum (senior lecturer in early childhood studies) and Mrs Anna McClurey (Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust Strategic primary lead for English) to ensure children have the prerequisite skills to ensure children make rapid progress in securing phoneme grapheme correspondence.. Teachers promote early language development through familiar domestic play, bubble blowing, rhyme, stories, recording and talk back software to develop pupils speaking and listening skills and wider understanding of language.


Through the teaching of systematic phonics, children develop a love of reading, articulating what they have learnt and building on prior knowledge. Teachers and children alike, will have aspirations for all learners to become confident, able readers with the skills to allow them to succeed in other areas of the curriculum. Children will have a thirst for knowledge and become lifelong learners.

Phonics ai grapheme

Our YouTube showcases phonics at St Mary’s.

Phonics Song Reception

Phonics in Continuous Provision

Phonics for Writing