Say No to Reading Test at Five. New International Petition.

As readers will know by now – I have a five year old daughter. The English government has proposed the following policy: to introduce a reading test at the end of Year One at school. They say the reading test is for six year olds. However, for summer-born children – the way this would work is that a child like mine would in fact be five and not six when they are tested.

Say No to Phonics Test for Small Children – new international petition

So, I and many other parents have a vested interest in turning this plan around and encouraging the government to change their mind. There is no way that I will be allowing my child to sit through a reading test which has already been described by phonics experts such as Professor Greg Brooks as ‘a waste of money’. The planned pilot is due to take place in 300 schools this June, so parents – if I were you, I would check now to make sure your school is not amongst them and if it is start protesting now. A new international petition has been created on this theme:

Say No to Phonics Test for Small Children – international petition

There is also the point that we now know the pilot scheme will cost a minimum of a quarter of a million pounds. (See previous post).

The government has refused to tell us how much the scheme will cost in it’s entirety  – arguing that there are commercial interests involved and divulging that sort of information could endanger the wise use of public money.

Say No to Phonics Test for Small Children – new international petition

There are indeed commercial interests involved. The companies that produce phonics systems are set to make millions from this plan. On the backs of our children, as far as I can see. The money could be far better spent supporting special needs programmes, or better facilities for speech therapy in schools. Or indeed on saving our public libraries.

In response to the last post, questions are now being asked about exactly who the companies are who are designing and selling these programmes in schools. We don’t know for sure, but if you Google around this issue for long enough two huge companies stand out. One of these companies is very closely allied to Michael Gove’s drive to convert schools to academies. (Search for Michael Gove and Academies on YouTube)…


5 responses to this post.

  1. As I said when we applied for a parental exemption to the compulsory learning and developmental requirements of the EYFS: Quaker Advices and Queries state: Respect the law of the state but let your first loyalty be to God’s purpose. I still do not believe is God’s purpose to subject any child to this sort of testing at five or six.


  2. Was only suggesting possible civil disobedience from parents in terms of simply not sending their children to school on key days. Potential for causing difficulties for teachers might be one reason for not taking that route, though still something to bear in mind should it be possible to do it without impacting on individual professionals.


  3. Interesting point, Paul. Presumably teachers might want to consider their own forms of action. Strikes as there were around Sats? The NUT position is highly critical of the reading test.


  4. Posted by Paul Smethurst on February 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Whilst civil disobedience may be a possibility, it is unfair to subject teachers to this, as they are simply carrying out policy given to them from their ‘lord and masters’ in Westminster


  5. I’m afraid I have a habit of coming up with grand ideas that require time and emotional input … but I wonder if encouraging civil disobedience in line with your own response to the potential of your child being tested (‘There is no way that I will be allowing my child to sit through a reading test…’) might be a way to disrupt the pilot and get some publicity. Lots of reasons why it may be impossible, but perhaps worth reflection. I’ve disobeyed before now (ah, the blessed poll tax – squirrelled it away until it was clear I wasn’t going to get away with it any longer) but have never actively promoted it. Even so, would be interested in devising a plan alongside others if there is any stomach for it.


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