FFT Success for All Phonics

A multi-academy trust perspective

John Halliwell

With insights from John Halliwell, Director of Primary at STEP Academy Trust

Introducing a new Phonics programme

About Step Academy Trust

Step Academy Trust has a history of working with a large number of schools in special measures, dealing with challenging learning behaviours on a daily basis. John Halliwell, Director of Primary at the trust recalls that the teaching of Phonics within these schools had been varied; no single robust programme existed and assessments were poor.

The teaching of phonics in schools

John shares: "There were significant gaps amongst the children, and this was particularly noticeable across key stage 2 with teaching often being dropped after the phonics screening checks." It was clear that a a more systematic approach needed to be introduced across all schools.

Gonville Academy was the first school within the trust to introduce the Success for All Phonics programme back in February 2021. Since then, a further six schools within the trust have taken up the programme.


About FFT Success for All Phonics


FFT Success for All Phonics is a complete systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programme validated by the Department for Education and aimed at nursery children upwards.

Since being first introduced to Gonville Academy in 2019, the programme has evolved significantly, however the co-operative learning pedagogy, rooted in the pioneering work of the Success for All Foundation has remained the same.

John Halliwell explains: "The schools using the programme have embedded the unique co-operative learning pedagogy as a whole school behaviour policy and practice across the entire curriculum. This has allowed for consistency across all schools, ensuring that children are fully engaged and able to interact with all their lessons. This has been fundamental in the successful application of the scheme for each school."

Applegarth Primary Academy is one example of a school using the phonics programme that has experienced a transformative turnaround; being ranked as the sixth best state primary school in England.

Find out more about FFT Success for All Phonics

The impact of using FFT’s Success for All Phonics programme across the trust

The phonics programme is now well-embedded across seven schools, with excellent results being seen.

The trust recognises the benefits of using a single phonics scheme across multiple schools. John Halliwell highlights these below.

Benefits of using a trust-wide phonics scheme:
  • A shared and common understanding
  • Learning from each other
  • The building of support networks
  • The ability to share resources, planning and successes
  • Progression and development opportunities
  • Ease of movement amongst staff to teach different groups throughout the year
  • Ability to assess both progress and standards

Why FFT Success for All Phonics — a trust perspective

John Halliwell

It's the engagement. The way that the children work collaboratively together. It's the teaching of these skills and the progression of them which makes a real difference. This is all part of the SFA's unique learning pedagogy.

“One of the biggest areas is the progression through the whole of the English curriculum and the rigour of reading fluency, word reading, phonics, comprehension, writing, grammar and spelling.”

John Halliwell, Director of Primary at STEP Academy Trust
If you missed FFT's one-off event with STEP Academy Trust you can watch the recording below. FFT's session, run by John Halliwell and Stefan Johnson, Teacher and Senior Leader at the trust, covers insights and practical advice on rolling out an integrated MAT-wide Phonics programme in more detail.
Watch our case study recording

More about Success for All Phonics

Play the video

To find out more about the phonics programme, watch our short introductory video and get in touch with a member of the team today.
Get in touch today