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Phonics Screening Check

The UK Phonics Screening Check was trialled in 56 Department for Education primary schools across South Australia in 2017. A total of 4,406 reception and year 1 students and 268 teachers were involved.

The screening check, administered by the classroom teacher, was made up of 40 words and took 5 to 7 minutes per student. The purpose of the trial was to understand the usefulness of the Check for school leaders and teachers with regards to their student’s phonics development.

2017 evaluation

An independent evaluation of the trial (PDF 2MB) was conducted by the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute at Flinders University. The feedback from principals and teachers was positive and students enjoyed the 1:1 time with their teacher.

2018 implementation

In term 3, 2018 (6-31 August), the Phonics Screening Check will be implemented with all year 1 students in Department schools. Their teachers and a leader from their school will attend face-to-face training prior to administering the screening check. Year 1 teachers will be provided with time to administer the check and plan their teaching responses.

The Phonics Screening Check will support teachers in identifying students who need additional help with their phonics skills and help inform their judgement on the approaches to take to support individual students. Phonics is one important element of an integrated reading program incorporating the Big Six components of Reading (oral language, phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension). 


Learning Improvement division

Phone: 8463 5829

Emaileducation.newmedia [at] sa.gov.au