Bishop's Cleeve Primary Academy

Essential Letters and Sounds


As part of the GLA, Bishop's Cleeve Primary Academy strives to provide a phonics programme which enable all children to have outstanding outcomes. Using the ELS scheme we ensure teaching is aspirational, systematic, sequential and inclusive. By knowing each individual’s next steps, using consistent assessments and effective interventions tailored to the need of every child, children can ‘keep up, not catch-up’. 

Due to the progressive teaching sequence taught by highly trained teachers, children’s knowledge and skills are built upon, and accessible for all. The constant review and links allow our children and parents to understand the purpose and structure of every lesson. Children are therefore confident in lessons and when reading independently.  

Our children are provided with enriching lessons, achieved with meaningful opportunities to practise and apply segmenting and blending skills with exciting decodable books matched to their knowledge. Physical learning strategies give children consistent tools, which enrich lessons whilst providing transferable skills across all areas of the curriculum. Children at Bishops Cleeve Primary Academy will therefore experience love and passion for books from the earliest age. 



“We aim for all children to read well, quickly” 

What is phonics? 

A method of teaching beginners to read and pronounce words by learning to associate letters or letter groups with the sounds they represent. There are 44 main sounds in the English Language. Each sound is represented by a grapheme (the written representation of a sound). 

In the GLA we follow Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS). The key principles of ELS are based upon: 

  • The delivery of whole- class, high-quality first teaching with well-structured daily lesson plans. 
  • The use of consistent terminology by teachers, children and parents. 
  • The use of consistent resources that support effective teaching. 
  • Repetition and reinforcement of learning. 
  • Regular and manageable assessment to ensure that all children ‘keep up’ rather than ‘catch up’.  
  • The ‘E’ model  

All of our pupils in EYFS and Year 1 have daily ELS lessons. ELS teaching also continues in Year 2 and into Key Stage 2. If required, some pupils receive ELS interventions to support the ELS principle of “Keep up not catch up.” This ensures all our pupils have the best start to early reading.  

We regularly host ELS parent sessions which provide you with the opportunity to learn about how we teach phonics to your child/children. These sessions also inform you about reading with your child at home and giving you the opportunity to learn some sounds yourself! If you were unable to attend our most recent session or are new to our school please speak to your child’s class teacher as we are always very happy to provide more information.  

For further information on how you can support your child with their phonic learning, please follow the links provided. 

Click here for ELS parent presentation

Resources for Parents

 Click here for ELS sound matt phase 2,3 and 5

Grapheme Sheet Phase 2

Grapheme Sheet Phase 3

Grapheme Sheet Phase 5

FAQs for parents