Friday 20 July 2012

Petition against new documents in Primary English

Here's a petition for 'writers and artists who produce books for children' who are opposed to what's being offered by the government in its latest package of curriculum and testing in English. If you feel you can sign, can you please write to me, Ed Wicke or Alan Gibbons. We three are sponsoring it. We will send it to one of the main broadsheet newspapers and to Michael Gove.

My email is

"We are writers and artists who produce books for children.

In our view, the proposed Draft Primary English Curriculum, the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1, and the new Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar test at the end of Year 6 pose a threat to reading for pleasure in primary schools.

The recent Ofsted report 'Moving English Forward' made a specific recommendation to the government that it call on all schools to develop policies on reading for enjoyment. To date, there has been no such move by government. On the other hand, millions are being spent on systematic synthetic phonics programmes and training, subsidised by the government, although there is no evidence that such programmes help children understand what they are reading.

As a result, more school time will be devoted to reading as an academic, test-driven exercise; less time will be available for reading and writing for enjoyment. We deplore this state of affairs and consider that the quality of children's school lives is about to be altered for the worse.

We call on the government to implement the Ofsted recommendation on reading for pleasure, to withdraw the Phonics Screening Check and the SPAG test, and to reinstate mixed methods of initial reading methods (which include 'basic phonics' and real books)."

Michael Rosen   Ed Wicke  Alan Gibbons

Anne Rooney    Jeremy Strong    Anne Cassidy

Andrew Taylor     Eileen Browne     Denis Bond

Dennis Hamley    Tanya Landman   Linda Newbery