Thanks to Susan Godsland for flagging up this Department for Education advisory document via Twitter:
http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/15579/1/respondin ... 0final.pdf
The phonics screening check – responding to the results
Departmental advice for Reception and Key Stage 1 teachers
Page 7 (I have added the red colour font):
‘Reading real words well but struggling with pseudo-words’
If your pupils did well on reading the real words in sections 1 and 2 but most of them struggled to read the pseudo-words, this suggests that they might not be using phonics as their first approach to unknown words. It is vital that all pupils can decode swiftly and accurately, including your good readers. Pupils who rely on recognising words on sight often struggle later when they come across words in their reading that are not in their spoken vocabulary because they don’t have a strategy to decode them.
It is not necessary to practise pseudo-words, if your pupils did not do well on them. The knowledge and skills pupils need to decode them are exactly the same as they need for any unfamiliar word. Pseudo-words, however, are useful for assessment which is why you will find them in systematic, synthetic phonics programmes, as well as in the screening check.
Regular, real words that pupils have not heard (e.g. brock, hoax, squib, vending, carnival) are a good way of increasing their confidence in decoding. Make sure you talk about the meaning of each one so that you are increasing the store of words they know.
If it was only individual pupils who struggled with pseudo-words, reinforce their knowledge of GPCs and their blending skills.
Further, on page 8:
Pupils with special educational needs
It may be that the outcome was what you expected and that you already knew – or suspected – that the pupil has special educational needs (SEN). However, before going down that route, remember that Ofsted commented on ‘schools that identified pupils as having special educational needs when, in fact, their needs were no different from those of most other pupils. They were underachieving but this was sometimes simply because the school’s mainstream teaching provision was not good enough, and expectations of the pupils were too low’.2