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Hele's School

Hele's School

Hele's School A great place to learn. A great place to grow.

Fresh Start Phonics

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Fresh Start

Fresh Start is a systematic synthetic phonics programme for struggling readers aged 9 – 13+. Pupils are taught at their challenge point, so they learn to read accurately and fluently in just 25 minutes three times a week. 

Fresh Start is for students who:

  • are not yet reading age appropriately
  • have missed schooling or are late arrivals into school
  • are new to the UK education system
  • are learning English as an additional language.

The programme is published by Oxford University Press and includes: 

  • daily phonics lessons
  • 34 weekly Modules with age-appropriate decodable fiction and non-fiction texts 
  • activities to develop pupils’ comprehension, spelling and punctuation 
  • seven Anthologies for extra reading practice in school or at home 


Every day, pupils learn new letter-sounds and review previous sounds and words. They apply what they’ve been taught by reading words containing the sounds they know in lively, age-appropriate stories and non-fiction texts closely matched to their phonic knowledge. By the end of the programme, they are able to read these accurately and fluently. 

Pupils are taught either individually or in a small progress group for 25 minutes three times a week. This means they learn at their ‘challenge’ level for over one hour every week. The duration depends on each pupil’s starting place. Some pupils might need only a few weeks’ tutoring; others may need two or three terms.

A reading leader coordinates teaching Fresh Start at Heles - they are our literacy intervention teacher.

The reading leader organises practice sessions for the reading tutors, assesses pupils’ phonic progress half-termly, and ensures tutors’ time is protected so tutoring can take place every day.