Phonics Screening Check Trial in New South Wales - SPELD NSW

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Phonics Screening Check Trial in New South Wales

A trial of the phonics screening check will take place with Year 1 students in Term 3 2020. 

More than 250 primary schools in New South Wales have put their hands up to take part in the trial for the Year 1 Phonics Check according to The Australian

“NSW was the second state to embrace the program, which is based on the British phonics screening check, after South Australia made it compulsory for all public schools in 2018. Tasmania has also since announced that its schools will introduce phonics screening.”

“SPELD NSW supports the Phonics Check. In December 2017  AUSPELD (The Australian Federation of SPELD Associations) wrote to the  State and Territory Ministers for Education in support of the Year 1 Phonics Screen. We encourage schools to opt into the Phonics Screener Trial to support childrens early literacy,” said Georgina Perry Executive Officer SPELD NSW.

School principals are invited to express their interest in the trial by filling out the Department of Education expression of interest form.  Schools with Year 1 students are eligible to apply to participate in the trial. Complete the online form by Friday 20th March 2020. Participating schools will be provided with two days casual relief for each Year 1 teacher.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said she was pleased the trial had attracted strong interest, given the importance of the early school years in a student’s success.

“The phonics check will allow teachers to quickly identify any possible reading and processing issues a student might have,” Ms Mitchell said. “I expect that the phonics check will help teachers to lift results across our early years as they identify struggling students, helping them to improve rather than fall behind.”

Phonics is one of the five essential skills for literacy development. A Year One phonics check will help identify students who are struggling to develop reading skills including those that may have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.


South Australia completed a Phonics Trial in 2017 and implemented the Phonics Screening Check statewide in 2018. 


  • 2017 SA trial evaluation
    The UK phonics screening check was trialled in 56 public schools across South Australia in 2017. A total of 4,406 reception and year 1 students and 268 teachers were involved.
  • 2018 SA Phonics Screening check
    Over 14,000 year 1 students participated in the 2018 Phonics Screening Check.
  • 2019 SA Phonics Screening Check
    The 2019 Phonics Screening Check results show state-wide improvement in the ability of year 1 students to decode and blend letters into sounds.

Read AUSPELD’s submission supporting the national Year 1 Phonics check




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