For reference - The Autumn 2021 Phonics screening check

Please note that this guidance refers to the Autumn 2021 Phonics Screening Check. To see how to record this in summer, follow these instructions: The Phonics Screening Check


Why is the phonics screening check in Autumn?

For full details of how to administer the check, take a look at the DfE's Administering the phonics screening check guide.

In summary, the cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2021 means that current year 2 pupils did not take the check in year 1. As such, the DfE requires schools to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils in Autumn 2021. Any year 3 pupils who were due to take the check in June 2021 (when they were in year 2), are not required to take the autumn check.

Schools have the flexibility to decide when they administer the check within the second half
of the 2021 Autumn term (between the October half term and Christmas), and can administer the check to different students on different days as needed.

LAs must submit their schools’ check results to the DfE between 6 December 2021 and 21 January 2022, so it's a good idea to submit your data to your LA before 6 December 2021 if you can.


Setting up the assessment

Step 1 - Add the template

To add the Phonics Check assessment, go to Students > Assessments > DfE Assessments.

If the template has already been added, you'll see it under the academic year drop-down menu.



If it hasn't yet been added, click the green Load Assessment Template button in the top-right of the page.



Select the Autumn term 2021 Year 2 Phonics screening check then click Load Template.


Step 2 - Add students

Click +Add in the Phonics Screening Check section select the right student group and date.



In the slide over, select the main year group that is doing the Phonics Screening Check. In a normal year, this is year 1. However, because the students who would have taken the check had it taken plave in summer are now in year 2, select year 2. Don't worry, you can add additional students from other years later on if needed.

Add the assessment date, and choose whether the assessment is for SEN students only, then click Setup Assessments.


Step 3 - Add additional students if needed

To add additional students, click the check. Year 3 pupils, who were due to take the statutory check in June 2021 (when they were in year 2), are not formally required to take the autumn check, so there is no requirement to add them.



Then select Manage Assessment



Click +Add in the Students section on the next page.

Select individual students or whole groups by clicking, then click Add Students.




Inputting marks

Adding marks

Click the check, then click Input marks.



Add in the mark to the Check Mark column on the right. Schools are not required to submit outcomes to their LA unless a student was, for example, absent when the test was administered.



Should we fill in the outcomes?

Only input a value in the left-hand column if the student did not take the test. In this case, input A, D, L or Q in the left-hand column, and leave the right-hand column blank.

In a standard year, the DfE would usually release thresholds for passing grades. This is then pulled into Arbor on results day and the grade is automatically output. As this assessment is working differently this year with no results day, this data will not automatically populate.


Which mark should we use?

Guidance for the codes to use, taken from page 14 of the DfE's Administering the phonics screening check guide.



Exporting the Phonics Screening Check to send to your LA

Step 1 - Generate the export

To export the results via CTF go to Students > Assessments > DfE Assessments > Export Results. Alternatively, you can go to School > Data > Export > Assessment Results.



Click +Add in the Current Assessment Results CTF Exports section and update the slide over with the data you want to export.

  • Export Type - Choose which test you want to export. It is important to note that each CTF is titled Partial CTF because these files will only contain the assessment results and are therefore not as detailed as a students CTF.
  • Destination - Here you need to choose whether the CTF will be sent to either the Local Authority or the Testing Agency.
  • Year Group -  Leave this field blank if you want to include all the students that took the test. If you want to only export year 2 Phonics Screening Check data, you would select Year 2 in this field.
  • Include only students enrolled on - This section automatically chooses the current date however you might have a student that has un-enrolled since the test was done. Make sure that the date reflects the enrolment date that includes all students who sat the test.

When happy with the settings, click the green Export button.


Step 2 - Download the file to send off

The CTF will then show as processing. When the file status shows Ready for Download, click the file.



Click Download in the slide over. 



Top Tip: You can locate your file once you have downloaded it by right-clicking the download at the bottom of your page. There's no need to open the file! In Windows, select the 'View in folder' option.




How can we analyse the check data?

For this year's results, it isn't possible to use the analysis area within DfE Assessments.

  • Instead, you can use the Students > Assessment > Summative Tracking > Analysis > Grade Distribution page to see the spread of results.
  • You can also use the Transition Matrix page to compare this year's outcomes to previous year's.



Just click on the filters to select the assessment.



You can then see the spread of the marks the students got.


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