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Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check (PSC)

The PSC is an annual statutory data collection that takes place each June and it assesses the application of phonics knowledge gained from the programme of study. Phonics programmes follow a progression of sounds and the PSC takes place in the Summer term when all of the required sounds have been taught.

The PSC contains 40 words that are a mixture of real words and pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning. Pseudo-words are included in the check specifically to assess if a child can decode words using their phonics skills. All pseudo-words in the check are accompanied by a picture of an imaginary creature. Children are taught that when a word has a creature next to it, it is a pseudo-word. This is to ensure that they are not trying to match the pseudo-word to a word in their vocabulary.

With some exceptions, all pupils who have reached the age of 6 by the end of the school year must take the check during that academic year. For most, this will be in year 1. For those children who did not meet the expected standard in year 1, they will re-take the PSC in year 2.

For information from the DfE on how to administer the PSC, please use this link: Year 1 phonics screening check training video - YouTube