Phonics check outcomes improve, but still behind pre-Covid levels

Primary schools have overseen further improvements in the proportion of pupils passing the phonics screening check, but we have yet to recover to pre-Covid levels.
Image: Adobe Stock

Official figures published by the Department for Education (DfE, 2023) show that in 2023 79% of pupils met the expected standard in the phonics screening check in year 1 – up from 75% in 2022.

Meanwhile, 89% of pupils met the expected standard by the end of year 2, up from 87%.

However, levels have yet to recover after dipping during the pandemic. There were no assessments in 2020 or 2021, but the year 1 pass rate in 2019 was 82% while the year 2 pass rate was 91%. The table below shows the evolution of phonics check outcomes in years 1 and 2 since 2012.

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