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What's the difference between PI, NNP and Floppy's Phonics?

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Joined: 08 Oct 2007
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 2:03 pm    Post subject: What's the difference between PI, NNP and Floppy's Phonics? Reply with quote

There is a noticeable resurgence of interest in phonics programmes in England's context at the moment. The Department for Education is opening up another opportunity for full Systematic Synthetic Phonics programmes to apply for 'DfE validation'.

This coincides with the current DfE publishing a statement saying the 2007 version of Letters and Sounds will no longer be 'validated' as a full SSP programme because it does not provide the requisite teaching and learning resources.

Consequently, I'm being asked by more people about whether my phonics programmes are validated, and what the difference is between Floppy's Phonics (publisher Oxford University Press), Phonics International and No Nonsense Phonics Skills (publisher, Raintree).

Floppy's Phonics and Phonics International were 'DfE validated' back in 2012 and they will be re-submitted to be re-evaluated.

Phonics International Ltd is collaborating with Raintree to submit an application for validation for 'No Nonsense Phonics' as a 'full' SSP programme too.

Meanwhile, on being asked to describe the differences, this is one of my replies which I thought I'd share here:


Thank you for your interest in these phonics programmes – I can assure you that your question is entirely sensible – and not infrequently asked!

The Phonics International programme is, in effect, the ‘mother’ of the Floppy’s Phonics programme. This means that there are some big similarities with regard to certain important teaching principles – that is, rationale and resource design.

For example, the ‘two pronged systematic and incidental phonics teaching and learning approach’ with the ever-present overview Alphabetic Code Chart:

Both programmes are based on a ‘two session’ teaching and learning cycle from ‘revisit and review’ right through to ‘apply and extend’ – with paper-based core resources for every child to work with, own and share back and forth with parents routinely (via the bookbag routine).

Both programmes have certain core resources that I consider very effective – core and essential – for example, the Alphabetic Code Charts, the Alphabet Poster, the Frieze, the Say the Sounds Posters, the multi-skills Activity Sheets, the plain Cumulative Texts.

Both programmes have the same ‘Phonics Hand Routines’.

You can see/hear some of these core principles via this pre-recorded webinar and full course notes (I use the same course notes regardless of programme):

Floppy’s Phonics covers more code in a shorter time-scale, but PI has more content-rich cumulative texts and choices of resources.

FP is for infants, and PI can extend through KS2 to contribute to spelling (with fewer lessons than we provide for infants).

PI has 12 Units of work but I would look to getting to the end of Unit 6 by the end of Year 1 all things being equal. They will be good readers and spellers by then!

FP follows the order of introducing the sounds of Letters and Sounds – although I do include spelling alternatives for some of the sounds at an earlier stage.

Both programmes do not have an empty phase 4 – and both programmes have shorter and longer words from the outset.

FP has a lovely range of glossy phonics books to supplement learning and these are paralleled on the online subscription platform.

Some schools use FP in the infants and then build on this start by using PI in KS2.

PI is free.

FP has a longer teacher-led component for ‘session one’ with the interactive whiteboard and speaking and listening, as well as introducing the focus code, that PI does not include.

PI has a wider range of resources which may never be called upon that are not ‘core’ although they have specific learning intentions (not pink and fluffy).

From PI, I have developed the ‘No Nonsense Phonics Skills’ series published by Raintree. And then PI Ltd has now produced more hard copy resources that can be used with both PI and NNPS, see here:

These hard copy, ready-made resources are a super addition and we are going to submit ‘No Nonsense Phonics’ as a full SSP programme in the current DfE validation round.

I suspect this will only go some way to explain the differences but I hope it helps.

Please don’t hesitate to get back to me with specific questions that you may still have.

Best wishes,


Debbie Hepplewhite
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