Tag Archives: phonics

Little change promised on primary tests

The Government were clearly rattled by opposition to last year’s tests, including the parents’ protest last May and hundreds of responses to the Select Committee of MPs. Unfortunately, they are very slow to learn. After many delays, the new proposals amount to … Continue reading

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Links to posts on primary testing

We thought it would be useful to publish a list of our posts on primary tests over the past year.  Primary testing (general issues) Moving beyond ‘fixed ability thinking’ Bullying by numbers – its roots in neoliberalism An impossible curriculum: … Continue reading

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Phonics fanatics: politicians who think they know best

This post concludes our series on phonics by asking what has been gained by politicians imposing their will on teachers. It draws on research by Professor Dominic Wyse (UCL IoE) among others, as well as official data.  The issue is … Continue reading

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The phonics check: what does it prove?

drawing on research by Professor Margaret Clark The ‘phonics check’ is one of the most insane tests ever invented. It is not a real test of children’s reading, but designed to monitor whether teachers are teaching reading in the government-approved way. That is … Continue reading

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The Rose Report on phonics: playing fast and loose with ‘the evidence’

Agitation about synthetic phonics and the Clackmannanshire experiment by Nick Gibb, then an opposition MP, had two outcomes: a systematic review of research (led by Carole Torgerson) and a committee of enquiry (chaired by Jim Rose). Torgerson’s research review came … Continue reading

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The Scottish phonics miracle: myths and evidence

A major trigger for politicians insisting that synthetic phonics is the only good way to teach reading came from an experiment in Clackmannanshire, Scotland. The work of Sue Ellis at Strathclyde University reveals serious exaggeration by politicians and the press. Gains in … Continue reading

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Phonics: myths and evidence

Margaret Clark’s recently updated Learning to be Literate (2016) provides essential pointers to the biased way in which evidence was assembled and deployed in support of teaching reading by synthetic phonics. Briefly, synthetic phonics involves starting by learning letters and then assembling … Continue reading

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