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Voice: Literacy experts ‘deeply concerned’ about government’s reading test for six year-olds

Literacy experts ‘deeply concerned’ about government’s reading test for six year-olds

- Millions of pounds to be wasted as test will fail to accurately identify children’s needs

- High stakes approach will harm ‘enjoyment, comprehension and wider reading’

Many of the UK’s leading experts in the teaching of reading have written to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, to strongly advise against proceeding with the pet policy of his Schools Minister, Nick Gibb.

Mr Gibb has been the force behind the creation of a 40-word test (half of them ‘nonsense words’) for Year 1 pupils (five and six year olds).

The test was piloted recently and its findings welcomed by the Minister – much to the puzzlement of experts who argue the results are certainly no cause for celebration.

Amazingly, the government intends to proceed despite the negative evidence gathered by its own pilot study and the test will be imposed on every Year 1 pupil in the UK next summer – potentially leading to a variety of hugely detrimental consequences, including:

- ‘teaching to the test’ resulting in a reduction of pupil enjoyment, comprehension and wider reading
- those most at need of reading support not being accurately identified by the test anyway
- increased workload for teachers (15.5 hours of administration on average, dismissed by Mr Gibb as just taking ‘a few minutes to carry out’)
- five and six year-olds pupils having less time with their class teacher
- the wasting of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money

The text of the letter to Mr Gove can be found in full below.

For further comment, please contact UKLA at the University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH

Tel: 0116 223 1664

Fax: 0116 223 1665

Email: admin@ukla.org

Voice: Senior Professional Officer (Education) Ian Toone:

Tel: 01332 372337 or iantoone@voicetheunion.org.uk

Press Office: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

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