In the week beginning 18 June, all pupils in Year One will be required to undertake a statutory test assessing their skills in phonics.
They will sit with their class teacher and be asked to read 40 words. Twenty of these will be a nonsense word, a word that has no meaning e.g. splod. If the child fails to achieve the required pass mark they will be deemed to have failed and their parents must be informed of this. These children will be required to retake the test in Year Two. The NUT is opposing the Year One Phonics check because phonics is not the only way of learning to read. It should be one of a range of approaches used by teachers; all children are different and this one size fits all approach is wrong. The test is set up for children to fail as only 33 per cent of those in the pilot schools reached the required pass mark The test will provide no additional information for teachers on children’s phonic knowledge beyond their regular assessment practices. The test is inappropriate for many children with special educational needs and English as an additional language. The test is a waste of time and money. The results of the test are to be included in each school’s self-evaluation and, therefore, used as part of the data scrutinised by Ofsted in assessing a school. Calderdale NUT requests that parents and carers of children that attend Calderdale Schools write to the headteacher and their MP to register their concerns about the test, both before and following the test week of 18 to 22 June 2012.
Calderdale NUT Divisional Secretary