The school uses Essential Sounds and Letters to teach phonics. Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) is a Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme, validated by the Department for Education.

Who can I speak to about Phonics? Your child's class teacher will be able to answer any questions about your child's phonics or reading. You can also speak to the Phonics lead Dr Kirby (1MK). 

Phonics and Early Reading Policy 2023  - please click here to find out more about how we teach phonics and reading at LHPSN. 

Curriculum Intent for Reading and Phonics: We encourage all of our pupils to be readers, who select texts for purpose and pleasure. Immersing children in a culturally rich and diverse range of books and reading material is at the heart of everything we do. At LHPSN we know that being able to read fluently and with understanding is the key to unlocking learning across the whole curriculum.  Therefore reading is planned from EYFS  starting with phonics. One of the aims of our English provision is to ensure that all pupils can read easily, fluently and with good understanding . We know that the sooner children learn to read, the greater their success at school.

The daily Phonics session is structured as follows; revise  taught sounds and letters > practise harder to read and spell words > teach - new sound/s >apply skills taught> assess for next steps. In every single lesson, children make the direct application of their phonics skills to reading. Independent application allows us to identify children who may need additional support, in a 'keep up, not catch up' approach.

Phonics and Spelling teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage and Year 1 follows the “Essential Letters and Sounds” programme, a detailed, systematic, synthetic phonics programme, approved by the DfE for teaching phonics. Phonics is taught daily through Reception and Year 1, in lessons that last around 40 minutes.

Year 2 through to Year 6 use‘No Nonsense Spelling', which also includes reading, understanding and spelling common exception words. At the start of Year 2, revision of Phase 5 phonics also takes place, to further secure recognition and application of grapheme/phoneme correspondences.

In Early Years Nursery provision, phonics skills are taught, modelled and developed as part of our daily phonics lesson; through the sharing of and engagement with rhymes, stories and non-fiction texts; through speaking and listening; and through interactive games. Nursery focus primarily on Phase 1 of the letters and sounds document, which feeds into ELS, and encourage children to listen to the sounds that words make and become confident with oral blending and segmenting as part of the school day.

In Reception and KS1, children have a daily phonics session, working through the carefully sequenced ELS programme. Children who are working below the expected phase are provided with a range of support, varying from in-lesson support, same day intervention, to additional teacher-led intervention and precision teaching sessions.

Children in Year 2 who do not pass the Phonics Check have additional phonics teaching to secure phase 5 and other gaps.

Children in Year 3 who do not pass the Phonics Recheck or borderline children receive further ELS precision teaching (and additional reading interventions including, for example, Toe by Toe where appropriate) and receive intervention tailored to their needs, for example Oxford Reading Tree or Project X Code books, and/or prioritised 1:1 reads.

Phonics is only part of reading; it unlocks the code of written language. When pupils read fluently, their cognitive resources can be redirected from focussing on decoding and onto comprehending the text.

What you can do to help: Reading with your child is vital. Research shows that it’s the single most important thing you can do to help your child’s education. It’s best to read little and often, so try to put aside some time for it every day. Children should be encouraged to read aloud and read on their own, but being read to is really important too, so don’t overlook the bedtime story. Focus on encouraging your child to read fluently and with expression, understand plots and broaden their vocabulary. Reading is also a good way to build an understanding of how punctuation and grammar are used. Most importantly, continue to enjoy what you do together, give lots of encouragement and expand the reading experience to keep your child switched on and if they are reading something they are not enjoying – STOP- and choose something different.

Take a look at some of the weblinks below for inspiration:


  • Address

    Lickey Hills Primary School and Nursery
    Old Birmingham Road, Lickey
    Worcestershire B45 8EU.


    School is open 8:50am – 3:20pm.


    The Hive before and after school club 7:30am – 8:50am and 3:20pm –  6:00pm.


    Office opening hours 8:00am – 4:00pm Monday to Friday.