Project focus

    The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Project incorporates the following strategies to improve the trajectory of Year 1 pupils towards meeting the Phonics Check threshold:

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

    The project is being delivered with schools in Hertfordshire and is soon to expand to neighbouring counties.

    Participate in this project

    If you would like to participate in this project, please book online or complete the expression of interest form to be contacted about future launch dates.

    As high numbers of Hertfordshire schools (i.e. 104 schools and over 800 pupils) have already participated in the project to date, and the highest impact is achieved when approaches are implemented early in the year, this year the project will run in the autumn term only.

    Please complete our Expression of Interest form to be advised about future Year 1 Phonics Screening Check Projects.

    We are also offering bespoke tailored consultancy, using elements of the unique teaching strategies woven into the project, for those schools unable to participate in the full project. To find out more, email

    Impact and outcomes from the nine-week project

    • pupils made on average double the usual rate of progress
    • 104 schools and 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 have 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 seen has been +49.3 ppts in one school with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils
    • 2019's cohorts made an average increase of +2.5ppts for PPG children, more than DOUBLE the average increase seen for all Herts children
    • the gender gap has 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 9-week project CPD through:

    • half day training session 1 (school lead and teacher)
    • tailored in-school consultancy half-day (school lead and teacher)
    • midpoint 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 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 9 week period. 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.

    Blogs to read

    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?

    Further reading

    'Swooping and scooping: Prosody and a fluency family tree’, newsletter item from p13 of spring 2017 edition.

    ‘The HfL Phonics Screening Check Project’, on p92 of My Academy magazine, spring/summer 2017 edition.


    KS1 guided reading booklet

    Project contact

    Kirsten Snook
    Primary Teaching and Learning Adviser - English
    Tel: 01438 845111 (option 2)

    Contact details

    Express an interest