PHONICat Heyford Park Free School

At Heyford Park Free School, we believe the primary focus of teaching phonics is to support our early readers to make the links between letters and sounds (phonemes) and develop awareness of letter-sound correspondences. Children also develop their awareness of spelling patterns with the aim to be able to apply their key knowledge and skills in their reading and eventually their independent writing.

Children at Heyford Park Free School need to be able to blend sounds together to decode words, and break spoken words into their sounds to write. Some phonics programs/schemes focus too much on the teaching of letter-sound relations in isolation and not enough on putting them to use.

We base our teaching on “Letters and Sounds” (

This uses a phased approach to introducing phonemes and graphemes, expecting children to be secure in one phase before moving on to the next phase.  In line with every other aspect of the curriculum, teachers then use a variety of resources to deliver phonics teaching.  We encourage our teachers to be confident enough to develop, adapt and implement the most appropriate phonics instruction in order to adapt it to individual student needs.

Teachers at Heyford Park Free School understand that systematic phonics instruction is only one component of a total reading program. Systematic phonics instruction is integrated alongside other reading skills to use and apply phonetic awareness and whole word recognition. Whilst developing fluency and comprehension strategies, children become confident readers with the ability to use transitional skills for spelling and writing as they progress through the school.