Bishopsteignton Primary School

Cockhaven Close, Bishopsteignton, Devon TQ14 9RJ

01626 775 873

  1. Learning
  2. Curriculum
  3. English - Reading
  4. Bishop Phonics

Bishop Phonics - An Overview 

If you have any questions about our Phonics Programme, or how to support your child with their home learning please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher.
We would love for you to join us at our next parent workshop! 

A reader from Bishopsteignton will: 

  • Have a secure understanding of phonics by the end of KS1
  • Learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities. 
  • Know which books they enjoy and read for pleasure. 
  • Have the skills needed to enable them to read to learn

At Bishopsteignton, we want to support all of our children to be confident readers who can use their skills to learn but also for enjoyment. We aim to support readers to become confident, fluent readers as quickly as possible. 

All staff at Bishopsteignton value reading and ensure that children have adequate opportunities to read and to be read to. We ensure that children are exposed to a wide range of high quality and challenging texts throughout their time at our school. 

To achieve our intent, we have developed our own Systematic, Synthetic Phonics Programme ‘Bishop Phonics’. We have created a programme to ensure that children experience a consistent, rigorous, and challenging start to their journey in learning to read and write.

For many children, their Bishop Phonics journey begins in our Governor run preschool where Phase 1 activities are regularly planned for. On entry to school, our initial focus is that all children have exposure to the first phase of our phonics programme and are growing in confidence with all seven aspects: Environmental Sounds; Instrumental Sounds; Body Percussion; Rhythm and Rhyme; Alliteration; Voice Sounds and Oral Blending and Segmenting. 

Daily Phonics Lessons:

We have a 25 – 30 minute teaching session per day in Reception and KS1 alongside phonics application in all areas of our continuous provision and teaching interactions throughout the day. Where needed, small group interventions (‘keep up’ and/or ‘catch up) are carefully planned and delivered. 

Our lessons are well-planned and adapted for the cohort and follow the same cycle throughout EYFs and KS1:

Revisit– recap of previous phonemes and rehearsal of application to reading and writing 

Learn – teach a new sound and/or tricky words and practise using activities such as finding on a sound mat, listening for the sound in words, writing the grapheme. 

Apply to reading – provide opportunities to identify the new sound, linking it to previous spelling choices (if appropriate) and rehearsal of reading the new sound within words.

Apply to writing – apply the new phoneme/ word to writing words, captions and sentences (Rehearsing our strategy ‘asking the question’.) Dictation is often used to support practising and application. 

Challenge : Teaching of tricky words and applying this to reading or writing also incorporating the phoneme from that day where possible. 

The fast-paced, structured lessons ensure children receive clear, direct teaching with opportunities to practise and apply. All phonic resources are consistent across the school so children can use them confidently to reinforce their learning, including sound mats, flashcards, actions, handwriting rhymes, sound charts/spelling grids. 

Our SSP programme has been written to ensure that KS2 build on the learning from KS1. This ensures that prior learning is valued and children’s understanding of phonics is deepened/embedded. Our spelling lessons in KS2 link to and build upon prior phonics learning in KS1.  


Our sequence of progression ensures that teachers have high expectations for coverage. Quality teaching means that the scheme is rigorous and challenging. We embed GPC knowledge whilst teaching children how to apply this to independent reading and writing. Rehearsing the application of known GPC’s is at the core of our teaching sessions ensuring that all children make progress in every session.

Consistency and Training

We ensure we provide regular CPD for staff members and that training and resources are shared with new staff. Each fortnight, we have a phonics focus where staff have the opportunity to reflect and coach each other on specific aspects of the phonics programme. 

Phonics training is provided for all new parents and supportive documents have been produced for parents to use with the children, which can also be found on our school website. We offer additional workshops and sessions in Y1. We believe that consistency should be threaded throughout home and school. 


When phase 5 is completed and children are applying this, the children are taught spelling patterns and rules through following the Spelling Shed scheme, making explicit links to our phonics programme. We have developed a Spelling Grid which is used throughout the school, supporting children with their GPC choices and ensuring consistency and progression from our SSP. The ‘Asking the Question’ strategy is used throughout the school (devised by Natasha Tuite)
When ‘asking the question’ children are able to demonstrate that they are aware of the possible graphemes used to represent a given phoneme and ask for support to identify the correct choice. 

An example of ‘asking the question’ 

Child: “In the word pack is it ‘c’ as in cat, ‘k’ as in kitten or ‘ck’ as in duck?”

Adult: Where is the ‘c’ phoneme in the word pack?

Child: At the end! It must be ‘ck’ as in duck! 

Adult: “Fantastic! It is ‘ck’ as in duck! 


We ensure that all staff use the same vocabulary and encourage the children to use it too. We know that a consistent, daily, well-paced phonics/spelling session is essential for the development of every child to ensure that ALL children are readers and can write confidently.


We have high expectations for children’s handwriting and try to instill a sense of pride in the children in the presentation of their work. We have linked the teaching of handwriting to our phonics scheme by writing a letter formation rhyme to help children form their letters correctly. Once the children are developmentally/physically ready, we introduce the cursive writing to aid joined handwriting (usually in Y2). Children are encouraged to use a pen once they have a clear, well-joined handwriting style. Children’s handwriting and the need for any intervention is monitored regularly by our handwriting lead. 


We assess the children’s GPC knowledge and how they apply this knowledge to reading, writing and spelling. We work hard to ensure that children at risk of falling behind are identified and supported at the earliest possible opportunity. Wherever possible, we aim to keep the cohort together when teaching phonics to ensure that all children are exposed to all elements and there are high expectations for all children. For those children who need interventions, this is in addition to their daily phonics lesson in the form of a ‘keep-up’ or ‘catch-up’ session depending on the need of the individual children.

Formative assessment occurs in daily phonics sessions and children are given appropriate challenge at the correct level.

Summative assessments using the school’s phonics assessments are carried out at the end of each block and these are used to inform planning and raise any concerns with senior leaders. Phonics is discussed half-termly in our Pupil Dialogue meetings (PDMs)

Baseline tests are carried out in each year group and Phonics Screening practise tests occur at the end of the Autumn term in Year 1 and again at the end of Spring 2. The results of these are discussed at regular Pupil Progress meetings.

When completing a Phonics Screening Practise test children apply their decoding skills to any unfamiliar word whether it is real or nonsense. Children practice their decoding skills by sounding out the letters in ‘alien words/nonsense words’. This gives children the opportunity to use their grapheme-phoneme knowledge as they are unable to rely on existing knowledge of real words.

Our Phonics Assessments are used as a baseline in Year Two to check gaps after the six weeks holiday and further tests are completed in Autumn 2.  These results again help inform planning and intervention support.

Pupil Progress meetings between the class teacher and the SLT flags up any children who may be falling behind or children who may need extra challenge and the impact of strategies/extra support put in place is monitored. The teacher monitors progress of the whole class, each term, on the Phonics Tracker Assessment grids. Assessment data is monitored by SLT and the English Lead. 


Phonics Screening

The Year 1 phonics screening check is a short, simple assessment to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. The screening usually takes place in the Summer Term of Year 1 and is completed by all schools nationally. This check is carried out during which the children will be assessed on their ability to segment and blend a range of 40 real and ‘alien’ words. Alien words are a selection of phonetically decodable nonsense words.

All children in year 1 must take the check, unless they have no understanding of grapheme-phoneme correspondences.

The check identifies the children who need extra help so they are given support by the school to improve their reading skills. If a child has not reached the required standard and not passed the check, then they will retake the check in the Summer Term of Year 2 and throughout Year 2 these pupils will have extra intervention to help them reach the required standard.


Whilst every effort is made to ensure children do not ‘fall behind,’ we know that some children will not completely absorb and retain the phonemes and spelling rules immediately. For children whom we feel need to repeat certain aspects, we assess thoroughly and plan either small group/ 1:1 interventions to enable the children to relearn and rehearse. This is monitored by the class teachers, SENco and English Lead. 


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