This document defines the scope of, and business rationale for, the phonics screening check data collection 2021.


Phonics screening check 2021: technical specification, version 1.0

Ref: DfE-00221-2020PDF, 307KB, 22 pages


The 2021 national curriculum assessments, including the phonics screening check for year 1 pupils, have been cancelled.

This specification is intended for:

It contains:

  • the business rationale for the return
  • changes to the 2021 return
  • assessment module descriptions
  • methods for importing data into local authorities’ information systems
  • XML formats and messages
  • validation check information

This guide must be read in conjunction with the current version of the common basic data set (CBDS).

Published 24 December 2020
Last updated 25 January 2021 + show all updates

  1. Added information about the cancellation of the 2021 phonics screening check.

  2. First published.