Four out of 10 pupils fail phonics test
27 Sep 2012
The test checks six-year-olds' ability to read aloud a mixture of 40 real and made-up words, sounding them out using the phonics system. Ministers said the check had identified pupils who needed further help in learning to read. But teaching unions say it risks doing long-term damage to children's reading.
The official results show some 62% of girls passed the test compared with 54% of boys. But only 44% of disadvantaged pupils, those eligible for free school meals, met the required standard of phonic decoding. This was 17 percentage points lower than all other pupils.
Education and Childcare Minister Elizabeth Truss said:
The reading check helps teachers identify those pupils who need extra help in learning to read. Many thousands of children will now receive the extra support they need to develop a love of reading.
However, Mary Bousted, head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said:
Phonics tests waste time and money telling teachers what they already know about children's reading ability, as our joint survey with the NAHT [National Association of Head Teachers] and NUT [National Union of Teachers] showed.
The Department for Education (DfE) highlights evidence from an independent evaluation saying 43% of schools were able to identify pupils with reading problems of which they had been unaware.
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