Balfour Infant School




At Balfour Infant School we recognise that Phonics is the knowledge that is necessary for children to learn to read and spell and therefore underpins access to the rest of the curriculum. We believe that following a systematic synthetic phonics programme from the very beginning of Year R enables our children to have the necessary skills to begin their journey as readers. We also value and encourage pupils to read for pleasure and recognise that this starts with the foundations of acquiring letter sounds, segmenting and blending skills – enjoying success and gaining confidence from a positive experience.

At the end of Reception, we intend for children to be able to read words and simple sentences accurately. During Year One, children consolidate previous learning, learn new content and practise and apply what they have learnt in segmenting and blending. Therefore, they are equipped with the knowledge to be able to complete the phonics check at the end of Year One. In Year Two, time is spent further revising these key skills so that children are able to tackle the demands of reading more challenging texts and learning more complex spelling patterns.



At Balfour Infant School we use the systematic synthetic phonics programme, Bug Club Phonics. This programme teaches letter sounds very rapidly, explicitly showing children how to build up words with letters from the start, and always includes blending with printed words. In Reception, Bug Club Phonics teaches a new grapheme and related phoneme in every Phoneme Session. This fast pace, backed up by daily revision of past teaching, has proved the most effective and successful method of phonic training. This means that the basic 40+ phonemes are acquired quickly, and early reading skills develop rapidly. The order of grapheme introduction ensures that children are able to start reading and spelling a wide range of words at the earliest possible stage. As the children move into Key Stage One, the same method is applied with a focus on learning alternative pronunciations for vowel phonemes.

Alongside the teaching of Phonics, frequent and rigorous assessments are in place to monitor children who are at risk of falling behind. They are quickly identified and the appropriate additional scaffolds or interventions are implemented in addition to continuing with the whole-class teaching sessions. Bug Club Phonics is supported by decodable readers which match the order of phoneme introduction. We ensure that each decodable book is matched closely to the children’s phonic ability, thus ensuring children are able to practise and consolidate their learning at each stage. Before, during, and after the introduction of the Bug Club Phonics readers, children are exposed constantly to a rich and varied diet of book experiences to ensure their enthusiasm for reading is nurtured, their comprehension skills are being developed, and their speaking and listening skills are extended.



The impact of using Bug Club Phonics as a systematic synthetic phonics programme, along with the earliest possible introduction of decodable reading books, enable children at Balfour Infant School to get off to the best possible start on their reading journey. They quickly develop the necessary skills to see themselves as ‘readers’ and apply their knowledge when beginning to spell and write sentences. We believe that reading is the key to all learning and so the impact of our phonics and reading curriculum can be seen across all areas of the curriculum


What Is Phonics

Welcome to Bug Club

Bug Club Book Information

Phonics Glossary

Bug Club Actions

Bug Club Reading Book Progression


All You Need to Know About Phonics

How We Articulate Phonics

Online Support for Bug Club



Balfour Infant School, Pattens Lane, Rochester, Kent ME1 2QT
For all general enquiries please contact our Headteacher Ms D Atkinson
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead is Ms D Atkinson
For all enquiries relating to SEND please contact our LINC Mrs M Forbes
Our Data Protection Officer is Ms D Atkinson

Tel: 01634 338280