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Barrow Hedges Primary School


In this section...

At Barrow Hedges we are passionate about the importance of reading, and we know that this starts with giving children the tools to crack the phonetic code. For this reason, we have created our own robust systematic synthetic phonics programme using Pearson’s Bug Club Phonics progression of sounds and decodable books. We prioritise the importance of teaching phonics by starting with Phase 1 in Nursery and consolidating Phase 6 spelling patterns in Year 3. We have created a phonics progression planner and individual year group ‘Road Maps’ which clearly show our learning journey of Phonics. We believe phonics does not stop once children are confident from Phase 1 to Phase 6, it is a continuous journey our children continue to develop throughout their time with us in Key Stage 2.

We use a multisensory approach to enable our children to know more and remember more by bringing the learning to life through our use of songs, stories, videos and physical props to enhance our teaching. Our programme enables children to make links to previously learnt knowledge and see the similarities and differences between the alternative spellings of the same sound. For example, ‘ai’ as ‘rain’ and ‘ay’ as in ‘play’.

We aspire for all our children to become confident and independent readers with a secure knowledge and understanding of phoneme-grapheme correspondence (sound to the letter). Children have an awareness of technical vocabulary such as phoneme, grapheme, digraph, trigraph, phoneme buttons and phoneme lines. We place great emphasis on phoneme buttons and phoneme lines throughout the school to support children in their decoding and breaking down words for spelling.

Our programme is proven to be extremely effective in helping children to become confident and independent readers and writers by equipping children with the necessary skills to become fluent readers.

Children start learning phonics in Nursery with Phase 1 games and physical objects to discriminate between sounds. In Reception children learn Phase 2 phonemes and by the end of Reception most children are confident to read many Phase 3 phonemes and tricky words. In Year 1, we build upon children’s prior knowledge and continue to consolidate Phase 3 phonemes whilst teaching Phase 4 and Phase 5. This is done in preparation for the Year 1 ‘Phonics Screening Check’ in the summer term. In Year 2 phonics teaching is consolidated further as children are taught Phase 5 alternative spellings, spelling rules and are challenged to apply this knowledge in their writing. Children also learn Phase 6 suffixes and alternative spelling patterns. In Year 3 children consolidate their knowledge of alternative spellings and progress on to further Phase 6 spelling rules and patterns. In KS2 phonics is revisited and children are encouraged to use sound buttons and make links to the spelling rules they have previously learnt. It is also reinforced during whole class writing sessions to support spelling of unfamiliar words.

Whilst we know that phonics works for the majority of children, we also strive to facilitate learning for those with barriers to reading. We pride ourselves in finding these barriers early, quickly putting into place intervention both inside and outside the classroom. For each child, this provision will be personalised to meet their needs. 


How can you support your child/ren at home?

  • Our phonetically decodable books have guidance on the inside of the front cover that will consolidate and support phonics at home. Please look through this with your child before reading.
  • Our phonetically decodable books have activities on the back cover which will support comprehension and fluency.
  • We encourage daily reading and reading for pleasure.
  • Play games little and often, especially if your child/ren is in Reception, as this proves more effective in helping to consolidate prior learning.
  • Practise segmenting and blending a range of words with your child/ren to help their fluency in decoding texts. 


Useful Websites


Decodable Reading Scheme

We use Pearson’s Phonics Bug reading books and Bug Club to support our children with their reading. Early readers take home books each week to read with their parents. We also have online access to Bug Club.

Bug Club Family

We hope that you and your child/ren can have fun learning to read!

Mrs Bennett is the EYFS and KS1 Phonics Leader and Mr Shaw is the KS2 Phonics Leader at Barrow Hedges. Miss Wilson oversees this as English Leader.

Watch us teach! 
Here are some videos that show some of our phonics learning with Mrs Bennett.

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