IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Impact of the phonics screening check on Year 2

This project explored the use of the Phonics Screening Check (PSC) in Year 2 classes in the autumn of 2020.

This research examined early years and key stage 1 teachers and headteachers' views on the PSC in Year 2, exploring how it has impacted their teaching, workload and curriculum.

The project ran from October 2020 until December 2020.


The PSC is usually taken in Year 1 of primary school. It is the only one of the statutory tests abandoned in 2020 to be introduced for the cohort who missed it, and those who did not meet the standard will have to take it again in June 2021.

This unusual movement of a test provided an opportunity to research how assessment affects pedagogy, and how contextual factors have an impact on teachers' responses to the test.  

We also collected information from early years and key stage 1 teachers on their phonics teaching in general.


Data was collected through a survey of Year 2, other early years and KS1 teachers in England. The survey was conducted during the autumn of 2020 as they administered the test. Data was also collected through focus groups of primary headteachers.


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