On 1 April, the DfE released updated essential core criteria for systematic synthetic phonics (SPP) programmes and announced that they were launching a validation process closing in March 2022.
We are delighted to say that the DfE has revalidated Bug Club Phonics in the first validation window! It has been deemed to meet all the criteria for an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme and is eligible for funding via the English Hubs. You can see the list of validated programmes here.
What has the DfE changed?
The DfE have updated the core criteria a DfE validated systematic synthetic phonics programme needs to adhere to.
We are delighted that Bug Club Phonics remains on the validated list of programmes.
The Bug Club Phonics programme offers schools a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme.
- Features daily lessons from the start of Reception
- Teaches the main grapheme-phoneme correspondences of English in a clearly defined, incremental sequence
- Gets children reading and spelling from very early on
- Includes blending for reading and segmenting for spelling activities
- Provides opportunities for children to practise and apply known phoneme-grapheme correspondences for spelling through dictation of sounds, words and sentences
- Features language sessions that teach ‘tricky’ common exception words
- Provides resources that support the teaching of lower-case and capital letters correctly, with clear start and finish points
- Includes direct teaching sessions, with extensive teacher-child interaction and involves a multi-sensory approach
- Has reading texts that closely match what has been taught up to that point
- Includes assessments and support for the lowest 20%
- Provides full guidance for teachers to support the effective delivery of the programme
- Provides remote learning capabilities via eBooks, allocatable teaching screens and phonics games.
Underpinning all of that is its proven pedagogy - it was written by the authors of the Clackmannanshire Report and provides the perfect foundations for fluent independent reading.
Have the DfE updated Letters and Sounds?
No. The 2007 Letters and Sounds progression remains the same. The DfE have stated that they want schools to adopt a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme and that the 2007 Letters and Sounds Handbook is not a complete programme.
Read more about the DfE's removal of Letters and Sounds 2007 from its list of validated programmes
Bug Club Phonics offers schools who are used to using the 2007 Letters and Sounds progression, a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme with the added benefit of a clearly structured route through Phase 5 that enables all children to make good progress.
Take a look at the Bug Club Phonics’ progression and see how it compares to yours.
Does my school need to change its progression/programme?
No, you don’t need to change the progression and programme you follow unless you want to, provided it is producing good results. If you wish to switch you can use the DfE’s validated list as a guide to high quality, systematic synthetic phonics programmes.
Bug Club Phonics has been revalidated in July 2021 and therefore is on the DfE's newly validated list.
What does Ofsted say?
The Ofsted Inspection Framework and School Handbook haven’t changed (if you’re expecting an inspection between 4 May and the end of Summer term 2, they will want to see how you’re set up to teach reading remotely – see their announcement) .
Ofsted does not stipulate which phonics programme a school has to use, instead it outlines what a school’s phonics provision should do and these points mirror the DfE’s core criteria for an SSP programme.
Is there funding available from the DfE to help with COVID recovery?
- The new, one-off Recovery Premium of £302 million (including ringfenced budget for SSP programmes) for state primary and secondary schools builds on the Pupil Premium to further support those pupils who need it most. The average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra.
- The Government has stated that the funding can be used for evidence-based approaches, including SSP programmes for supporting the most disadvantaged pupils from September.
I want to speak to someone at Pearson about this
Email us on ukschoools@firstname.lastname@example.org or call our team on 0345 478 8802. We’d be happy to help.
And, finally, new Bug Club books are coming in 2021!
We are adding new phonics books to our Bug Club and Bug Club Phonics subscriptions ready for the new academic year! Along with new non-fiction Phase 2 titles, we are adding to our Phase 4 and Phase 5 books.
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And for more information on how Bug Club Phonics can help your school, please visit our website.