MPs savage Labour education strategy

The national literacy strategy, the foundation of the Government's education policies, is almost certainly flawed, fails one child in five and needs to be urgently reviewed, a Labour-dominated committee of MPs said yesterday.

Continuing a debate that has raged for 50 years, they strongly urged the Department for Education to commission a large-scale research programme to find the best way of teaching children to read.

They specified that the basis of the research should be a comparison between "synthetic phonics fast and first" - a rigorous approach that teaches pupils to blend sounds into words - and the eclectic mixture of methods enshrined in the national literacy strategy.
Govt literacy poilicy attacked
Mrs Stoat is currently a classroom assistant at a junior school which is using the govt's literacy strategy: many of the 9 year olds she is trying to help can hardly read, because they've not been taught phonics and have been taught "whole word" and "guessing" (so they just randomly guess at words). The same school is also using the government's numeracy strategy, and many of them can't add up, and none of them seem to know their times tables (they certainly haven't been taught them); they're taught to break numbers down to multiples of 10 & work on that! That's a shortcut method for mental arithmetic that can be learnt after mastering the basics, but it's being taught as the way to do it! They have no comprehension of number position (i.e. how the decimal system works), and basically cannot do the sort of arithmetic that you would expect from a 9 year old...

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