Phonics Coordinator
Early Years Lead

Image of Mrs Debra Squire
Mrs Debra Squire


Teacher Profile

My name is Debra Squire and I am currently the Early Years Leader and responsible for Leading phonics. I am currently a Reception class Teacher.

In addition to my role at West Hill school I am also a Specialist Leader of Education (SLE) for Wandsworth. This involves providing school to school support across the Borough and beyond especially in areas around Early Years and phonics.

Early Years

Image of two pupils experimenting in the outdoor classroom
Learning outdoors!
In the Early Years at West Hill we provide:-
• A safe, nurturing and stimulating environment which supports the growth of independence, resilience, collaboration and a love of learning.
• An excellent and enjoyable education where each child is valued and enabled to achieve the highest possible outcomes.

We value and endeavour to foster, close partnerships with families to facilitate close links in children’s learning and wellbeing between home and school.

Approach to Learning in the EYFS

In the Early Years at West Hill we pride ourselves on listening to children and those who care for them and using this information to personalise child’s learning.

Learning should be fun and we strongly believe in first hand learning, valuing the importance of the indoor and outdoor environment to develop children’s curiosity, creativity, thinking and problem solving skills. Our aim is to develop life-long learners.

We believe that the best outcomes for children occur when most of the activity within a child’s day is a mixture of:
• Child-initiated play, actively supported by adults
• Focused learning, with adults guiding the learning through playful, rich experiential activities

Image of chart showing unstructured vs structured play for learning

We plan and organise activities in the daily routine to reflect the different types of learning to best support children’s well-being and continual progression. By combining child-initiated learning and adult-led opportunities our staff select the approach that best fits the developmental stage of the children, and for individuals and groups.

Alongside the children’s interest as a stimulus, we also use a topic based approach which ensures that the planning for Nursery and Reception covers the learning goals of the curriculum.

When appropriate, children are taught through a talk for writing approach which is in line with the rest of the school. In conjunction with early phonic sessions leading to following Read Write Inc. approach to early reading.

Phonics and Early Reading

Image of Three pupils are sitting in a large seat in the library which is in the shape of a circle.
Avid readers!
At West Hill we use the "Read, Write Inc" system to teach phonics and reading in EYFS and KS1

When using Read Write Inc to read

The children will: –
• Learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
• Read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
• Answer questions about the stories

When using Read Write Inc to write

The children will: –
• Write letters/letter groups which represent the 44 sounds
• Write simple sentences
• Compose stories based on pictures
• Compose a range of stories supported by writing frames


Children are exposed to phonics through a mixture of small group activities and whole class sessions.
Of central importance is: –
• the development of the children’s speaking and listening skills
• Attuning into the sounds around them
• Beginning to develop oral blending and segmenting skills
When they are ready we teach the children to pronounce the sounds themselves in response to letters before blending them.


The formal teaching of phonics begins using the Read Write inc programme. Initially children are taught as a whole class. During the autumn term they are assessed and taught in smaller ability groups. Each half term children are assessed and the results used to regroup children and target for individual support if required. The children build up to 30 minutes of phonic teaching per day.
Throughout the Early Years the provision of the indoor and outdoor learning environment ensures children have ample opportunity to practise their phonic skills during continuous provision.

Year 1

Read Write inc continues to be taught daily in small groups. The pupils are assessed half termly and regrouped if necessary. Each lesson lasts between 30 -40 minutes. In addition the children are preparing to take the phonic screening in the summer term.

Year 2

Children who did not pass or did not sit the phonic screening in Year 1 – continue to have daily phonic sessions. These children will have the chance to take the phonic screening in the Summer Term of year 2.