AN academy has been congratulated for its outstanding achievement in a phonics screening, putting it in the top 1 per cent of UK primary schools.

Shaftoe Trust Wise Academy, in Haydon Bridge, was congratulated in a letter from Damian Hinds, minister for schools, for its success in a phonics assessment.

It comes as new data revealed that Shaftoe Trust was one of the highest achieving primary schools in Northumberland, with one of the highest expected reading, writing and maths scores for 2022-23.

Mr Hinds' letter said: "I am writing to congratulate you on your school's outstanding achievement in the 2023 Phonics Screening Check.

Hexham Courant: Damian Hinds' letter to Shaftoe Trust AcademyDamian Hinds' letter to Shaftoe Trust Academy (Image: Supplied)

"We want to ensure every child develops a firm grasp of phonics as the basis on which to improve standards of reading. As such I was delighted to see your results," it said.

The phonics screening check identifies children who have not learned to decode using phonics by the end of Year 1, according to the government. These children receive additional support to ensure they can improve their decoding skills.

"With 100 per cent of pupils in Year 1 at Shaftoe Trust Academy meeting the expected standard in the check, your school is in the top 1 per cent of all primary schools in the country. 

"The latest figures show that 83 per cent of pupils who met the expected standard in the check went on to achieve at least the expected standard in reading at key stage 2 in 2023, which underlines the importance of developing the ability to decode words effectively at an early age. 

"Your particular success in teaching phonics and early reading so effectively means your pupils are developing a firm foundation, from which they can become increasingly fluent and develop a lifelong love of reading.

"I would like to thank you for your commitment and success in this vital area of a child's early education and congratulate you, your staff and your pupils again on all you have achieved," the letter concluded.

Headteacher Julie Phazey said: "For the past five years, Shaftoe Trust Wise Academy has scored 100 per cent in the Year 1 Phonics screening test and this has been recognised with the certificate. We are in the top 1 per cent of the country and very proud of our children."