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Essential Letters and Sounds

At SMSG, we follow Essential Letters and Sounds which we use as a consistent approach to teach phonics across the school. We have fidelity to this single approach across the school. ELS was validated by the Department for Education in June 2021.


What is Essential Letters and Sounds?


Essential Letters and Sounds is a Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) programme, validated by the Department for Education.

By distilling Letters and Sounds to its purest form, – its essence – we ensure every phonics lesson is taught to the highest standard. Essential Letters and Sounds is an SSP where only the essential elements are included.

The name reflects the key principles of the programme; simplicity and consistency.


What does the programme offer our school


  • is delivered to the whole class
  • combines continuous and reactive assessment
  • provides robust intervention
  • is rigorous and engaging
  • supports teachers to ensure the lowest attaining children keep up rather than catch up
  • aligns with books from Oxford University Press
  • provides immediate, in the lesson intervention
  • provides whole school training, accessible at times that suit your school timetable
  • supports Reading and Phonics Leads
  • training subscription includes an assessment tracker and analysis dashboard



Essential Letters and Sounds Progression

Phonics Training for Parents