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The new Y1 phonics screening check

(565 Posts)
SoundsWrite Sat 18-Feb-12 09:34:13

The government's new phonics screening check is to be launched in England in June.
The results of the test will be given to the parents of each individual child but each individual school's results will not be made public.
What is the view on Mumsnet? Do you think the results should be made public or not? Either way, why or why not?
You can find out more about this test by going to the DfE site:

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:42:58

Which is where MN, which is politically-neutral and covers a broad spectrum of social interests, comes into play!

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 10:47:25

At the moment, when the school gets very low scores on the screening test, (and they will) I can't see there being any consequence for the school. All they have to prove is that the strugglers continue to receive support in Y2 until they 'pass'. They've only just had Ofsted and were 'good', although with concerns about KS1 teaching hmm and attainment.

If the phonics screening test bothered them in any way at the moment, there would be plans to purchase phonic schemes and the teaching of phonics would be upped to a daily session. Neither of theses things have happened. They don't care.

If the results were made public, they would be far more bothered about their status in a public table as a good leafy lane school. As far as I can see, they don't give a stuff atm. However, publishing the results would bring its own problems.

So, Dilys and Bonsoir, what is it about the screening check in its current format that would make you think the school will change? Because I can't see that it will make any difference whatsoever, for the reasons SoundsWrite outline in his OP.

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:50:41

It's called lobbying, Feenie, and it is one of the major ways you get large institutions to change their tack. What you rarely get are instant major changes - it's a long, slow, drip feed process.

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 10:54:13

But it doesn't answer the OP's question, which I was answering - should the results be made public or not?

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 11:03:54

Yes, I would be pro making the results public as the lobbying effect will be more powerful.

SoundsWrite Sat 18-Feb-12 11:16:58

Thanks for sharing your views on this. There is a thread on the Reading Reform Foundation ( discussing the same issue and I thought that it would be useful for parents on MN to voice their opinions and to know what's going on.

IndigoBell Sat 18-Feb-12 11:44:17

I think the results should be published in some shape or form - for the same reasons Feenie says

1. Schools are more likely to care if the results are public

2. If parents are MNers very knowledgeable they can tell if a school is teaching reading well or not

3. A parent can see whether '20' (or whatever) is a good mark or a bad mark - otherwise the school can tell them it's all fine even when they get a bad mark.

AugustDays Sat 18-Feb-12 11:46:04

Whether schools should or should not publish the results of the phonic screening check, I'm assuming Ofsted will be picking out schools with children who do not perform well on it and paying them an unexpected visit.

It's surely not the fault of the teachers if children underperform but rather the responsibility of the Head Teacher who should make it his/her duty to understand reading and spelling and ensure that school staff do too. Afterall, isn't that what school is about??

This link was posted earlier and I have found the document really useful:

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 11:54:25

My head has spent a huge amount of the school budget on phonics training (over the last 5/6 years not just because of the test) and on high quality phonics reading schemes (we had Ginn 360 as our main scheme under the previous Lit coord) and yet we still have a Y1 teacher who simply "doesn't get it". I've had to resort to hiding books because she won't use the new books!!! I'm frustrated and so is the head.

IndigoBell Sat 18-Feb-12 11:56:27

mrz - sad But how can this happen?

How can a HT be unhappy with how his staff are teaching, and it still continue?

Teachers are very sensitive about 'teacher bashing' - but really and truly, working hard and caring isn't the same as being effective.

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 12:01:19

Ofsted have rated this teacher as "good"

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 12:03:12

mrz - surely a Y1 teacher who "doesn't get" phonics in a school as patently knowledgeable and supportive as your own just doesn't have enough brains to be a teacher?

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 12:07:09

Some teachers still firmly believe that a mix of approaches is best - a more individualised approach to suit the child. They don't understand that it can actually damage children - you see it from teachers on MN threads all the time; we've had some right old ding dongs. smile

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 12:09:07

Resistant teachers need to be forced to read This fantastic book

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Feb-12 12:13:06

Some of the teachers in my school are pro mixed approach teaching. They don't get to indulge themselves as my HT started Read, Write, Inc. and they have no real choice to ignore the scheme. All the schools in Monmouthshire use this scheme except my son's school.

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 12:14:47

yes you only have to read TES to see that many teachers still cling to mixed methods

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 12:18:50

At my DD's bilingual school, the children get taught to read in French using a (slightly shaky, not very up-to-date but not too dreadful really) French synthetic phonics method in CP (Y2), and then are expected to "transfer" their reading skills to English in CE1 (Y3) using old ORT with some very vague and haphazard teaching of spellings through a sort of phonics (nothing recognisable).

Unsurprisingly, the children who are not EMT pronounce English graphemes as if they were French phonemes and all the children are totally crap at spelling.

I think this gives a whole new perspective to potential harm done by mixed methods!

(my DD was taught to read in English with a proper synthetic phonics method as of MS (YR), btw, with a private tutor).

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Feb-12 12:19:21

It is so frustrating! All the evidence is there.

AugustDays Sat 18-Feb-12 12:21:20


yet we still have a Y1 teacher who simply "doesn't get it"

I know what you mean Mrz!

It needs to be asked: What doesn't she get? How is she being encouraged to 'get it'? Does she need to work with a different age group or take up another profession? (Although it is difficult with a 'good' Ofsted rating - was this under the old framework?)

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 12:21:22 bonsoir

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 12:28:38

Indeed, mrz. I try to get DD to read as much as possible in both languages in order for her to imprint the right spellings in her head.

There are mad, bad and dangerous teachers of English here in France who go as far as saying that Anglophone children in bilingual schools should be prevented from even seeing English text until they are fluent readers in French ie that parents should cover text when reading stories to their children.

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 12:36:15

I can add another anecdote to the horrors of the English teaching at DD's school: in the year in which reading in English is started, the children are asked to write a description of their weekend every Monday.

Obviously, for my DD, who could read in English quite fluently and had done a fair amount of writing exercises while being taught phonics, this wasn't impossible. She is now up to two A5 pages of writing, slightly misspelled but nothing drastic. However, many of the children have no clue about how to write in English as their parents weren't anal prescient enough to have them taught within a normal-for-MT time frame and they make the same terrible spelling mistakes week in, week out.

I did email DD's teacher recently to ask, politely, when she was going to be teaching the children about past participles so that they knew to write -ed and not -t at the end of verbs. You would think, given that the children have to write in the past and the past alone, every week, that she might have done some work on this...

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 12:40:20

camicaze Sat 18-Feb-12 18:16:10

I think that sadly its better not to publish this year as the anti phonics lobby would be able to have a field day. The government can then release details about the vast differences between comparable schools (which there inevitably will be) and justify doing so next year.

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 18:19:49

What do you mean by that camicaze? Why would the anti phonics lobby have a field day?

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