“By the end of year 1, pupils should be able to read a large number of different words containing the GPCs that they have learnt, whether or not they have seen these words before. Spelling, however, is a very different matter. Once pupils have learnt more than one way of spelling particular sounds, choosing the right letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading. Younger pupils have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write.”
Department for Education (2014) The National Curriculum. English Appendix 1: Spelling. [Online].
In Year 1, some words are common exception words. Common exception words may contain code that has not yet been taught. For example, the word ‘want’ may be an exception word in Year 1 because although students have been taught that ‘a’ can represent ‘cat’ and ‘baby’, they may not have been taught that the spelling ‘a’ can also represent the sound ‘want’ (alternative pronunciation).
Common Exception words are not words that are ‘phonetically irregular’ or words that ‘cannot be decoded’ – read John Walker’s brilliant post on ‘the ill-conceived idea of regular and irregular spelling’ here.