£2.5 billion of taxpayers money spent on National Strategies in primary schools · maths and science GCSEs

News in brief

The Independent was reporting yesterday that a group of experts set up by the government is demanding ‘tougher maths and science exams’ at GCSE.Graeme Paton has two pieces in the Telegraph: one on the ‘social engineering’ controversy, claiming that ‘Labour’s mission to “socially engineer” university admissions is built on flawed evidence, according to independent school… Continue reading News in brief

BBC news · Sounds-Write · The Scotsman

Report finds two thirds of Scottish children can’t write

Yesterday (24/02/10) BBC news and The Scotsman reported the appalling statistics from a Scottish government report on the number of children failing to achieve ‘expected standards’ in writing. The figure is a stunning 66%. The figure for reading – 60% failing to reach ‘expected standards’ – is nearly as bad.Meanwhile, the Scottish education secretary, Michael… Continue reading Report finds two thirds of Scottish children can’t write

Diane McGuinness · Early Reading Instruction

How the English alphabetic system needs to be taught

I ought to state from the outset that, in my opinion, the academic writer most worth reading on this subject is the Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida, Diane McGuinness. Her Early Reading Instruction (2004), Language Development and Learning to Read (2005) and Why Children Can’t Read (1996) have all had… Continue reading How the English alphabetic system needs to be taught

Peter Daniels · The World's Writing Systems

The World’s Writing Systems

In The World’s Writing Systems, Peter Daniels begins the book with the declaration that ‘[h]umankind is defined by language; but civilization is defined by writing’. Of course, as he makes clear later in the book, ‘civilization’ can mean a number of things. However, in terms of writing systems – ‘and this is the sense taken… Continue reading The World’s Writing Systems

A History of the World in 100 Objects · John Searle · Neil MacGregor · Writing at five years of age

Writing: the greatest invention the world has ever known?

In the series A History of the World in 100 Objects, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, asks us to imagine a world without writing. ‘It is,’ he says, ‘inconceivable because our modern life and above all our modern government is based almost entirely on writing.’ He claims that ‘of all of mankind’s great… Continue reading Writing: the greatest invention the world has ever known?

'Time-limited' teaching of phonics

Why the Government is wrong about advocating a time-limited approach to phonics teaching (Part III).

Continuing the theme I developed yesterday, for pupils operating at a level below or just above their chronological age, we at Sounds-Write strongly believe they will still need a lot of further exposure if they are going to become independent readers and spellers by the time they leave the primary phase. For this reason, we… Continue reading Why the Government is wrong about advocating a time-limited approach to phonics teaching (Part III).

'Time-limited' teaching of phonics

Why the Government is wrong about advocating a time-limited approach to phonics teaching (Part II).

In the last posting, I stated that about thirty to thirty-five percent of children of the sample (average age 7 years and three to four months) I was talking about were not yet more than two years above their chronological age. However, only between two and six percent were below their chronological age.Is the two… Continue reading Why the Government is wrong about advocating a time-limited approach to phonics teaching (Part II).

'Time-limited' teaching of phonics

Why the Government is wrong about a ‘time-limited’ approach to phonics teaching (Part I).

The question of how long pupils in school should be taught phonics before explicit teaching is dropped is one that has exercised teaching practitioners ever since the expression ‘time limited’ was coined in the Rose review.Since then, many phonics advocates have suggested variously that teaching should conclude at the end of YR, Y1 and Y2.… Continue reading Why the Government is wrong about a ‘time-limited’ approach to phonics teaching (Part I).