Latest news on UKLA’s campaign against phonics test for 6 year olds

Many of the UK’s leading experts in the teaching of reading have written to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, to strongly advise against proceeding with the pet policy of his Schools Minister, Nick Gibb. Mr Gibb has been the force behind the creation of a 40-word test (half of them ‘nonsense words’) for Year 1 pupils (five and six year olds). The test was piloted recently and its findings welcomed by the Minister – much to the puzzlement of experts who argue the results are certainly no cause for celebration. Amazingly, the government intends to proceed despite the negative evidence gathered by its own pilot study and the test will be imposed on every Year 1 pupil in the UK next summer – potentially leading to a variety of hugely detrimental consequences, including: -          ‘teaching to the test’ resulting in a reduction of pupil enjoyment, comprehension and wider reading -          those most at need of reading support not being accurately identified by the test anyway -          increased workload for teachers (15.5 hours of administration on average, dismissed by Mr Gibb as just taking ‘a few minutes to carry out’) -          five and six year-olds pupils having less time with their class teacher -          the wasting of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money The letter to Mr Gove can be found in full in the downloadable pdf below. Also see coverage of the story in the press: In the on-line edition of the Independent here and here. On BBC on-line here.