Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check is a short assessment that tells teachers how students are progressing in phonics.

The Check takes 5-7 minutes and is carried out by classroom teachers with each student individually. Teachers analyse the results and, if necessary, plan for any additional support that students might require by targeting teaching aligned with NSW English syllabus outcomes.

The Check complements existing strategies to identify students' progress in developing foundational literacy skills.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check summary and infographic (PDF 456KB) (staff only).

About the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

What does the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check look like?

The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check assesses how students blend sounds together to read a word.

Student responses are mapped to indicators from the National Literacy Learning Progression. Student information from the check is available in PLAN2 upon lodging the assessment.

How will my school be involved?

All Year 1 students in NSW department schools will be required to complete the mandatory Year 1 Phonics Screening Check from 2021.

The assessment window for 2021 is Term 3, Weeks 4-6.

An on-demand diagnostic assessment of phonics knowledge is available for all students in NSW department schools. See the Phonics diagnostic assessment webpage for more information.

Visit the resources webpage for support in administering the assessment. There are professional learning, resources and guides to help you.

The resources webpage also has information on where to find support for teaching strategies in the classroom following the assessment.


The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check administration checklist (PDF 194KB) (staff only) will help you to track and complete key actions for administering the check.

Vision impaired student materials requests

Vision impaired student materials are available for the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check assessment.

If required, complete the request for vision impairment student materials form (PDF 154 KB) (staff only) and send to before the end of Week 1, Term 3.

More information

For other professional learning about early literacy visit the Literacy and Numeracy professional learning webpage.

To hear more about how phonics can support early reading acquisition, listen to 'In conversation with Anne Castle: Systematic and Explicit Phonics Instruction' You can also watch Stephanie Lewis talk about where phonics sits in the NSW English syllabus, in the video below.

Stephanie Lewis talks about where phonics sits in the NSW English syllabus
Return to top of page Back to top