At Place Farm Primary Academy, we strive to ensure that all children are supported to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One.  We recognise that strong phonics teaching is fundamental to this journey.

As of September 2022, in line with the government’s validation guidance, the teaching of phonics at Place Farm Primary Academy will follow the teaching sequence set out in the Sounds-Write programme.  This is a quality first phonics programme built upon strong evidence, reflecting our commitment to evidence-informed practice in our school.  It offers high quality CPD to develop expert practitioners and an instructional method of teaching that is highly structured, multi-sensory, incremental and is a coordinated approach to teaching children to both read and spell. 

In EYFS and Key Stage One, Sounds-Write sessions are taught daily for 30 minutes.  Teachers teach children these key concepts and skills throughout their phonics sessions:

Conceptual Knowledge:

  1. Letters are symbols (spellings) that represent sounds.
  2. A sound may be spelled by 1, 2, 3, or 4 letters.
  3. The same sounds can be spelled in more than one way.
  4. Many spellings can represent more than one sound.


  1. Blending – the ability to push sounds together to build words.
  2. Segmenting – the ability to pull apart the individual sounds in words.
  3. Phoneme manipulation – the ability to insert sounds into and delete sounds out of words.

Children in EYFS begin with the Initial Code where they practice all three skills whilst learning the 1:1 sound-spelling correspondences and securing their understanding of key concept 1.  This teaches children that the system is reversible, enabling them to decode and encode a wide range of words and sentences.  Initially, children learn to read and write simple one syllable words with a CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) structure.  Word structure complexity then systematically builds up so that children apply their code knowledge to monosyllabic words with up to 6 sounds.

Once they have mastered the Initial Code, children continue to practice all 3 key skills whilst moving onto the Extended Code, which explores key concepts 2, 3 and 4.  During the Extended Code, children read and write monosyllabic and polysyllabic words at an age-appropriate level.

Key principles of the Sounds-Write programme:

  • Sounds are presented in the context of a whole word, not in isolation.  No previous knowledge of sounds is needed before starting the lessons.
  • Teachers refer to sounds, not letter names.
  • Precise pronunciation of consonants is always taught.  Pupils should say the individual sounds separately and without an attached vowel e.g., /m/ is mmmmm, not ‘muh’.
  • The teacher uses gestures to let pupils now exactly what they want the pupils to do (e.g., pointing to individual sounds or running finger along a word to encourage children to blend.). 
  • Writing and spelling is an integral part of each lesson.
  • Teaching through errors is a very important part of the Sounds-Write approach.  Staff are trained in the potential errors they could encounter and specific ways to address them. – phoneme articulation