By Marie Nee

St Thomas’ Catholic Primary School in Tean, Staffordshire Moorlands, has received a special letter of recognition from the Rt Hon Nick Gibb, MP the Minister of State for School Standards.

The letter congratulates the school on its 100% success rate in the recent phonics screening check, a result which places St Thomas’ in the top 3% of primary schools in the country.

The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year One in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how their children are progressing in phonics.

It helps to identify whether children need additional support at this early stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.

There are two sections in the 40-word check which assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year One.

It is an informal school-based check that lasts no more than 15 minutes with the class teacher to evaluate how well the children can sound out and blend sounds in order to read simple words.

The check is not about passing or failing but ensuring appropriate progress is being made.

All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school.

St Thomas’ Acting Principal, Sarah Baxter, said: “As a school we are very proud of all of the hard work that the children, parents and teachers do every day to ensure that everyone is the best that they can be.

"Reading is the gateway to success and these children are firmly on that path.”

Picture caption: Lindsey Gidman, Literacy Lead, with some of the children who took the phonics test (now in Year 2).