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West Oxford Primary

West Oxford Primary

01865 248862


At West Oxford Community Primary School,  we use the phonics scheme Unlocking Letters and Sounds, which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.

We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Reception. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception' words for Phases 2, 3, 3 mastery and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. The aim is for children to leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes and Common exception words (CEW) taught within Phases 2, 3 and 4.

Phase 2 sound mat and CEW mat


Phase 3 sound mat and CEW mat

Phase 4 CEW mat

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, the children learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1, our aim is for the children to use their phonics knowledge to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

Phase 5 sound mats

Phase 5 CEW mat

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support and targeted interventions to help close identified gaps. 

Formative assessments are continuous and ongoing during phonics lessons throughout Reception and KS1. All children are assessed at the end of a phase to ensure progress is being made and targeted interventions are put in place for any children that require additional support.

Phonics Progression

Pure Sounds Phase 2

Pure Sounds Phase 3


Phonics and Early Reading Workshop

What’s in your book bag?

With Unlocking Letters and sounds, we use a two-book system. Every child should have one fully decodable book and one sharing book.

  • The fully decodable book will be matched to your child’s current secure knowledge and understanding of GPCs
  • We encourage re-reading of fully decodable books three times - for decoding, fluency, comprehension and prosody
  • Children should be reading fully decodable books at 90% fluency in class and at 95% fluency for home reading
  • Library books are sent home for you to share with your child to expose them to a wide range of books and explore vocabulary with your child

For more information about Reading at West Oxford School, please click here.