Thursday 6 September 2012

Hey where are the results of the Phonics Screening Check?

Any MPs reading this, could you please ask Michael Gove, David Laws and Liz Truss what they've done with the results of the Phonics Screening Check; why the results haven't been published yet and what conclusions they draw from the results?

Rumour has it that the pass rate (ie getting 32 out of 40 words right) was about 55%. However, 80 per cent of children learn to read (NOT using exclusive, intensive, systematic, synthetic phonics). So why is there a differential between approx 55% and 80%? Surely this shows that the Phonics Screening Check is irrelevant, a waste of time and a waste of money (How much? exactly how much? Please let us know.).

We also know that some children who could read well, 'failed' the PSC. Several reasons have been put forward: eg they tried to 'correct' the nonsense words eg 'strom' to 'storm', 'osk' to 'ask'. In a sense, they were too good at reading for the test.

We don't know yet what the 'failure' effect will be. How did the parents and children respond when they were told the child had failed? What happens now, as they proceed towards more SSP and another PSC? How is that working out?

Why is Reading Recovery being discredited and sidelined, when it can be shown that it was proving successful in picking up children who were struggling with reading in the first round of initial reading instruction?

There are plans afoot to make changes to Early Years Education including (rumour rumour) to raise the admission age to 6 and to allow more unqualified staff to have more contact time with early years. (Of course, if your school is a designated 'free school', academy or private school, you can hire unqualified staff already.)

I detect a mismatch here between the almost fanatical introduction of exclusive, intenstive SSP for Early Years and Year 1 and a possible de-professionialising of staff? Is it an example of one bit of ideology conflicting with another? ie the 'instrumental' approach to learning how to read conflicting with the 'marketisation' of education driving the de-professionalising and possible raising of the admission age as part of government cuts?