Government reveals phonics check guidance for autumn term


Phonics screening checks are set to be carried out this autumn after the government published further guidance for schools following disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Standards and Testing Agency had previously said that the checks would need to be administered to pupils in year 2 after they were initially cancelled in June.

The government has advised schools that checks should be completed and submitted to local authorities in the second part of the autumn term.

Pupils from the same cohort will be permitted to take the check on different days if they are not all present, the Department for Education has said.

Should a pupil miss the entirety of the half term, they will be eligible to take the check in June 2021 instead.

To deliver the checks, schools can use phonics materials from 2017, 2018 or 2019 and if a pupil has already seen the resources, they should be given the one they did longest ago.

The guidance states that headteachers will again be left to decide if it is not appropriate for pupils to undertake the check, such as if pupils use British Sign Language or have limited English fluency.

In instances where pupils are moving schools, the school they move to should carry out the phonics check, although it will not be necessary for pupils to do the check twice if they move schools after the October half term.

In this situation, a teacher from the initial school where the check was undertaken should submit the necessary data.

The Department for Education has also said that the latest results will not feature in national statistical datasets, but will be used to check that pupils have the met expected standard for phonics.