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New Phonics Test for 6 Year Olds Under Fire

Friday 25th March 2011

“Government plans for a new phonics reading test for all six-year-olds is unnecessary and risks narrowing the curriculum, according to Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers”, as reported by the Telegraph today.

He added “There are better systems already in place for teachers to check the progress of each child’s reading needs and report to parents: systems which check for phonics, comprehension, enjoyment and special needs as part of the everyday work of teaching.

Introducing this screening check would simply impose additional bureaucracy on schools when there are many other demands. We know that parents favour a reading test, and rightly so, but the phonics screen is not a reading test. It is a test of how children decode words into sounds, which is only one part of reading.”

However, Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, said: “Learning to read is a fundamental part of a child’s education.

“The new check will ensure that children who need extra help are given the support they need to enable them to enjoy a lifetime’s love of reading.”

He added: “Almost all pupils and teachers in the pre-trialling thought the test materials were appropriate.


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