Participate in this project

    This project is currently offered as part of the Herts County Council -funded Covid 19 recovery programme, ‘Coming Back Stronger’. HfL has been commissioned by HCC to deliver this funded project across autumn 2022 and spring 2023; schools will receive an invitation to apply, from Herts for Learning if they are eligible for one of our limited funded places.

    The project CPD is also available for purchase via bespoke tailored consultancy, using elements of the unique teaching strategies which have been woven into the project. To find out more, email

    Project focus 

    The Herts for Learning  Y1 Phonics Screening Check project incorporates the following strategies to improve the trajectory of Year 1 pupils towards meeting the Phonics Check threshold and beyond, to securely fluent reading: 

    • diagnostic assessment 
    • text-matching 
    • application of phonics 
    • reading fluency development 
    • self-regulation development 
    • skilled use of reading prompts 
    • environment development. 

    Impact and outcomes from the nine-week project

    • pupils make on average double the usual rate of progress
    • over 800 children have participated to date
    • average percentage point increase seen, for children passing the Y1 PSC, is 16% 
    • over all cohorts, 72% of PSCP schools made over five times the Herts average improvement in their implementation year (calculated as 1.0 ppts), with 31% making over 15 ppts progress
    • largest increase was +49.3 ppts in one school with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils
    • The most recent round of schools made an average increase of +2.5ppts for PPG children, more than DOUBLE the average increase seen for all Herts children
    • the gender gap narrowed from 3-4% to only 1% in project schools
    Y1 phonics screening diagram

    Pupils typically demonstrated the following improvements in their reading behaviour:

    • deeper enjoyment and engagement
    • increased self-monitoring and self-correcting
    • more graphemes recognised rapidly
    • improved ability to blend, especially longer words
    • more fluent reading, releasing cognitive load for comprehension
    • more transference of skills across contexts.

    Find out more about the project below.

    Project delivery:

    Participants will receive the term-long project CPD through:

    • half day training session 1 (school lead and teacher)
    • tailored in-school/online consultancy half-day (school lead and teacher)
    • midpoint online cluster (project Y1 teachers only)
    • half day training session 2 (school lead and teacher)

    School participation / commitments:

    Each school is asked to nominate a Year 1 teacher and a school-based project lead. The project lead may be a deputy Headteacher, or English subject leader / SENCo where they are a member of senior leadership team.  The project lead will be responsible for monitoring changes and following through key actions.

    The project teacher will receive tailored consultancy in school or online to support them in making adjustments to teaching and provision based on the needs analysis.

    Teachers are asked to work with a group of six pupils for two group reading sessions per week for the duration of the term. These pupils are deemed to be not yet on track to meet the Y1 Phonics Check, at the start of the intervention period.

    Each school is allocated a project adviser. The adviser will be on hand throughout the project period to answer queries and support the school as needed. The adviser will also support schools with analysing their project data.

    Further reading

    Well, buckle my shoe: it’s 32! Analysing the 2019 PSC

    Y1 Phonics Screening Check blog

    You say potato… a reflection on the Phonics Screening Check 2018

    Do you sound good to listen to? (or ‘Fluency: reading’s best-kept secret weapon’)

    If print be the food of love, read on!

    Modelling early literacy

    Focus pupils for phonics: are we playing the long game?


    Kirsten Snook
    Primary Teaching and Learning Adviser - English

    Amanda Webb
    Primary Teaching and Learning Adviser - English

    Contact details

    Express an interest