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Phonics Screening Updates for 20/21

Phonics Screening Updates for 20/21

Data Collection Arrangements Autumn 2020 – Phonics Screening Check

Cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2020 means incoming year 2 pupils did not take the check in year 1. In the 2020/21 academic year only, it is statutory for schools to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 autumn term and return results to the LA.

Year 2 pupils who meet the expected standard in phonics in the autumn check will not be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics. Year 2 pupils who do not meet the expected standard in the autumn check will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021, alongside year 1 pupils.

Year 3 pupils, who were due to take the statutory check in June 2020 (when they were in year 2), are not formally required to take the autumn check. Schools are expected to maintain a programme of support for these pupils but do not need to return phonics data for year 3 pupils to the LA.

Phonics Check Administration Period

Schools have flexibility to decide when they administer the check within the second half of the 2020 autumn term (between the October half term and Christmas).

Pupils in the same cohort can take the check on different days. If a pupil is absent when the rest of the cohort takes the check, schools can administer the check to the pupil at any point up until the end of the 2020 autumn term. Any pupil who is absent from school for this entire period should be recorded as ‘A’ (absent) in the results data. This pupil would then be eligible to take the statutory check in June 2021.

Participating Pupils

With some exceptions, all pupils who will reach the age of 7 by the end of the 2020/21 academic year must take the check in the autumn 2020 term (most pupils will be in year 2).

Headteachers may decide it is not appropriate for a pupil to take the check, for example where a pupil has shown no understanding of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, has limited fluency in English, uses British Sign Language or is mute/selectively mute.  Schools must however still submit data for all year 2 pupils including those who do not take the autumn check. Pupils who do not take the check should be marked as Disapplied (D).

If an eligible pupil changes school:

  • before the October half term – the receiving school should assess the pupil and submit data for them
  • after the October half term – the receiving school should find out whether the pupil has already taken the autumn check (if not, they should assess the pupil and submit data for them)
  • after taking the check – their result should be submitted by the school where they took the check and be provided to the new school in the common transfer file (CTF)
  • during the Christmas holiday – the previous school should have assessed the pupil and should include the pupil in their data submission to the LA
Phonics Screening Check Submission Deadline

Schools are required to submit their Phonics Screen Check scores (0 – 40) to the Local Authority by Friday 18th December 2020.

In returning results, you must provide the marks achieved by each pupil who took the check. Outcome codes need only be reported if a pupil has left the school (L), is absent throughout the second half of the autumn term (A), is disapplied (D), or if the result is affected by maladministration (Q). As in previous years, we do not require the return of a ‘Wt’ (‘working towards’) or ‘Wa’ (‘working at’) outcome.  However, as schools will be using past versions of the check material where the threshold is known (32) you can add this threshold to your Management Information System (MIS) to calculate Wa and Wt outcomes if you wish too.

Please note that a mark of 0 should only be recorded if a child participated in the check but scored 0/40 – if the child did not participate in the check then please leave the mark blank and record the relevant outcome code instead.

Schools will need to submit their results in a CTF created from their MIS.  Instructions on how to do this will be available from your MIS Support Team.  Results should be sent to the LA using the AnyComms Plus secure file transfer system (https://securetransfer.buckscc.gov.uk/Login.aspx).

Headteachers do not need to complete a separate headteacher’s declaration form (HDF) for the autumn check. The phonics screening check HDF submitted by schools in June 2021 will cover both checks.

How DfE will use the autumn term data

Data from the autumn check will be used by DfE to determine which eligible pupils have not met the expected standard in phonics by the end of the 2020 autumn term, and are therefore expected to take the statutory check in June 2021 (alongside year 1 pupils). This will help inform the monitoring of the June 2021 check.

Pupil level results will be added to the National Pupil Database (NPD) as the record of the relevant pupil’s phonics assessment.  Data from the autumn check will not be added to Analyse School Performance or reported in national statistics, but schools should use the assessment outcomes to help inform their own teaching and support to pupils.

Reporting results to parents

Headteachers must report pupils’ results to parents in their annual reports. This should include whether their child has met the expected standard to ensure they are aware of their child’s progress in developing phonics decoding skills.

For year 2 pupils who take the check in autumn 2020 and June 2021, schools must report both results to parents.

Help and advice with the Phonics Screening Check data collection

For advice on administering the Phonics Check – contact sis@buckinghamshire.gov.uk / 01296 383030

For advice on recording results and creating the CTF file to send to the LA – contact your SIMS support provider

For advice on the collection of pupil data from schools, reporting requirements, accountability measures etc  - contact Sarah Sewell (School Management Support Team - smst@buckinghamshire.gov.uk / 01296 382640)

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