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At West Kirby Primary School we prioritise reading as a key life skill, which underpins access to the rest of the curriculum. We aim for children to read words and simple sentences by the end of Reception; become successful, fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1 and develop a lifelong love of reading for all our children throughout the school. The systematic teaching of synthetic phonics is given a high priority throughout Early Years and Key Stage 1. We value and encourage children to read for pleasure and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills. We want children to enjoy success and gain confidence from a positive experience. We combine quality phonic instruction with exposure to a wide range of texts and the promotion of reading for pleasure to provide the children with the skills they need to have a successful start to their lives as readers.


At West Kirby Primary School, we follow the systematic synthetic phonics programme Rocket Phonics, which was introduced in September 2022. All staff have received high quality CPD in delivering the scheme so that they are equipped with the necessary professional skills and subject knowledge to confidently deliver high quality lessons. Phonics sessions are delivered daily in EYFS and Key Stage 1 for at least 30 minutes. The Teaching & Learning Cycle (revisit and review, teach, practise, apply) is followed. Pupils learn new phonemes, improve their ability to segment and blend sounds, and their ability to apply this knowledge into their reading and writing. Pupils learn the 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds to decode (read) words. All reading books are matched carefully to the children’s phonic level. Books should not be a challenge for children, instead they should offer the opportunity to practise the phonics they have been taught and to develop fluency. Common exception words will be taught explicitly within the phonics lessons.

Teachers monitor teaching and learning to improve standards and outcomes. Formative and summative assessments will be used to quickly identify any children in need of addition support and practise. Additional support shall be prioritised and planned to meet the specific needs of the child. Phonics Tracker is our assessment tool which tracks the progress of children. This is closely monitored by class teachers and the Phonics Lead.


Through implementing the above at West Kirby Primary School:

  • Children will be confident in their phonic knowledge
  • Children will be able to blend and segment words confidently and accurately 
  • Children learn to love reading through fun but challenging phonic activities
  • A culture where a secure knowledge of phonic sounds enables reading for pleasure as part of our reading curriculum.
  • Children enjoy and have confidence in their phonics learning. They will transfer these skills to support their reading for pleasure and writing.
  • Children know more, remember more and understand more about Phonics, demonstrating this knowledge in all areas of the curriculum.

The large majority of children will achieve age related expectations in Phonics and this will be assessed through EYFS data and the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1. Any children who do not meet the required standards at the end of Key Stage One will be supported as they transition into Key Stage Two.