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: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/pedagogy/a00198207/faqs-year-1-phonics-screening-check

LackaDAISYcal Sat 18-Feb-12 09:36:42
mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 09:44:02

I'm torn between the worry that tests will become yet more teacher bashing and allowing schools that are only paying lip service to government guidance on teaching phonics to hide.

TheCunningStunt Sat 18-Feb-12 09:46:51

There is a sample test on that website. We are in Scotland so it means nothing to us really, but DS is in p1 just turned five and got 39/40. What is the point of testing so young? Is it to spot problems and fox them? Either way they should be made public no?

TheCunningStunt Sat 18-Feb-12 09:50:05

Foxblush.fix

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 09:57:47

The idea is the test will identify children who are struggling and provide extra support but good schools do that already. A national test shouldn't be necessary.

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:02:22

I think that this exercise is a fabulous opportunity to raise awareness among schools and parents as to what phonics is, and at what age it is reasonable to expect children to have acquired simple decoding skills.

And I say this living in a country where the teaching of reading via synthetic phonics has a lot more ground to cover than in the UK - I can just see how such a test would be an amazing boost to the development of the teaching of reading via synthetic phonics in France.

Miomio Sat 18-Feb-12 10:03:23

why does the sample sheet have lots of uncommon or (ignorant) non words- tazz?

DilysPrice Sat 18-Feb-12 10:07:26

It's to check whether the child understands phonic principles rather than having memorised word shapes miomio. IMO it's crucial.

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 10:08:59

the idea is that children actually have to decode these test words rather than present them with familiar words they may have learnt.

bradbourne Sat 18-Feb-12 10:19:20

"good schools do that already"

That's all very well if your child happens to go to a truly good school. Mine doesn't and only learned to read when I decided to take matters into my own hands. The school plays lip service to teaching phonics, but phonics was treated as an end in itself, rather than a means to an end - i.e. the children were taught the soujnds, but not shown how to blend them and are still sent home with lists of HFWs to memorise.

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 10:27:05

My ds's school is the same - they 'do' phonics twice a week and plonked Y1 ds on ORT at Stage 3 which completely threw him. Any gains he makes and anything he achieves in the screening tests will not be down to the school.

I agree with you mrz - I want schools like ds's to be flagged up somehow, but the last thing we need are new performance tables, etc. More LEA moderation of the process would help perhaps - but LEA staff have been cut drastically, so I'm struggling to see how they can do the 10% KS1 assessment/ Y1 phonics screening moderation completed anyway.

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 10:28:02

get the moderation completed. I clearly need more coffee this morning {blush}

whathaveiforgottentoday Sat 18-Feb-12 10:28:22

To be used as a tool for the primary school staff as another tool to assess and identify children who are struggling is a good thing. However, I totally disagree with the publication of the results and not even sure there is a need to report to all parents in yr 1, unless requested. Let the professionals use them to improve teaching.

mrz Sat 18-Feb-12 10:29:13

I think there are schools out there who say they teach phonics but haven't invested in training staff or in providing appropriate resources. Some teachers are muddling through and then sending home Look & Say books because that is all they have. Then there are teachers who are resistant to teaching phonics and continue to use the searchlight method, encouraging children the work out the words from the illustration of the initial letter and sending home lists of words to learn by sight.
It's sad that a test is necessary and hopefully it will identify these schools hmm

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 10:31:16

I am not sure some of the 'professional' would though. Certainly ds's Y1 teacher wasn't very interested when I told her ds didn't know many of the sounds at phase 3 letters and sounds. And any questions regarding the choice of texts where just met with a smile and 'no money'. She didn't know about the match funding confused

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:34:27

Feenie - surely the test, which has the merit of being a very clear communication of national expectations of what schools should achieve with their pupils, will help make your DC's teacher's reaction impossible to justify?

DilysPrice Sat 18-Feb-12 10:36:00

And the problem is, mrz, that there's a veneer of respectability given to that practice by a lot of well meant people, including writers who may never have taught a child to read, and who are of course fluent readers themselves who have forgotten what it meant to have to learn to decipher the inkblots on the paper. So they come up with "reading should be fun, not just a joyless mechanical skill to be taught, children need real books, testing children on made-up words has nothing to do with reading" etc etc - all of which sounds lovely but just undermines important strategies.

Feenie Sat 18-Feb-12 10:36:33

Why? What difference would it make to them?

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Feb-12 10:36:58

You describe the school my son goes to mrz - it is graded outstanding. It is a very good school in many respects, but it does indeed only pay lip service to the teaching of phonics.

It is particularly galling as I teach in a school with a very well implemented phonics programme. sad

Sadly Wales has not introduced this test, so it is not applicable to my son's school.

I would be in favour of making results public in order to highlight problems and force a solution.

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:37:32

Thinking about this... the UK, back in the 1980s, had one of the most successful Aids-awareness campaigns in the world and the much lower than average prevalence of Aids in the UK, compared to similar countries (eg France), is directly attributable to that awareness campaign.

Maybe there should be a national awareness campaign for phonics? It seems to me to be of huge national importance?

DilysPrice Sat 18-Feb-12 10:39:05

Because primary school teachers and parents read this stuff Feenie.

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:39:31

And MN would be a fantastic starting-point for setting off an awareness campaign smile - a great demonstration of the social power of mothers of young children, who, by virtue of MN, have a collective voice...

Bonsoir Sat 18-Feb-12 10:40:47

I can just see an amazing Government-financed awareness campaign for phonics, with MN endorsement

<fantasises>

DilysPrice Sat 18-Feb-12 10:42:03

Possibly bonsoir. I think part of the problem is that the Dept of Education has lost so much credibility over the years that however much they push phonics many people will just dismiss it as another one of Gove's little obsessions.

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