Tabling of Early Day Motion 1532: Rethink phonics based reading test for 6 and 5 year olds.

I spent World Book Day yesterday waiting for news of the tabling of an Early Day Motion in parliament to oppose the Reading Test for Six (and Five) Year Olds which the government is planning to introduce, via a pilot scheme in three hundred schools across the country at an initial cost of a quarter of a million pounds.

 My five-and-a-half year old daughter went to school yesterday morning with stretchy snakes in her hair clutching a book of “Monsters” – having written a book mark with the word “Medusa” on it.

The proposed reading test has been much criticised by experts in phonics (see previous posts) and the new Early Day Motion is already gathering support. Not only is it a waste of money and unhelpful to children, but it also diverts resources away from more sensible specialist measures (such as speech therapy) that some children might desperately need. Following the success of the petition to Stop League Tables for Five Year Olds let’s hope we can turn the reading test plan to stone too.

 Here’s the text of Early Day Motion 1532. It’s self-explanatory – and a link to the page where it is to be found on the Westminster site. It should appear in the official list next week, so please get ready to ask your own M.P. to sign it:



  Annette Brooke
  Mr Barry Sheerman


     That this House endorses the views of many early years experts in calling for a rethink on the introduction of a phonics-based reading test for all 6 year olds; believes that phonics can play a crucial part in reading but that a simplistic exclusive focus on phonics can distort children’s learning and limit the breadth of their experience; believes that reading should be enjoyable and that children need to look for meaning as they read in order to develop fluency and understanding; and further believes that young children need to have highly trained teachers with an understanding of child development and that such teachers are best placed to identify children who are not reading at an appropriate level for their age and level of development through appropriate monitoring and observation.

And at the grass roots, there is also an international petition with further information. See this link:

International Petition: Say no to Phonics Test for young children 


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