Saturday 16 June 2012

Show us your evidence: my letter to Tim Oates

I'm in correspondence with Tim Oates, the chair of the Expert Panel and apparently or possibly one of the co-authors of the Daft Primary English Curriculum

I've written the following to him:

I'd be interested to know where the evidence exists for

1. the claim that issuing directives like this does anything to raise standards. Dylan's Inaugural lecture appears to contradict this and he offers a great deal of international evidence and his own practice to back that up. (I don't accept the distinction between content and pedagogy). We've had similar documents being issued since 1988 at massive cost, and then junked (see NLS). In other words there are much better ways of working.

2.  the idea that primary children doing this kind of grammar helps them with writing or indeed any evidence that they understand it.

3. the notion that this model of learning in step by step fashion works. (see Andrew's critique of it).

4. the idea that anyone has ever successfully taught the subjunctive to more than a tiny handful of children under the age of 11.

5. the idea that SSP applied 'first, fast and only' achieves higher levels of 'reading for meaning' by Years 5 and 6 than methods using phonics in conjunction with other methods. According to Sue Ellis of Strathclyde University, the SSP first, fast and only children are coming through achieving lower results for 'reading with meaning'.

Notes on abbreviations:

[Dylan = Dylan Wiliam ex-prof at Institute of Education whose speciality was assessment in order to help children and teachers. One of the members of the Expert Panel.]

[SSP = 'systematic synthetic phonics' - the only 'approved' type of phonics allowed by HMGovt and delivered largely into schools by ReadWrite Inc but also with several other less popular schemes)

(NLS = National Literacy Strategy - the documents that controlled education as run by the Labour Government.)

(Andrew = Andrew Pollard, member of the Expert Panel who advised Gove prior to the production of the Daft Proposals)