I haven’t had time to read all of it yet online and, when I rang them to ask for hard copy, the government department wasn’t able to send me one. It won’t be ready until next week! Nevertheless, what’s clear is that the priorities should be literacy, numeracy and ICT, which should form the ‘new core of the curriculum’.
What is likely to stun many people into silence is the claim the report makes that the
“vast majority [of children] move successfully from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’ by the age of seven.”
If so many children are able to read to learn so ‘successfully’, how is it that the middle schools and secondary schools are tearing their hair out trying to cope with the problem of having so many pupils entering them not able to read, much less spell? The Report goes on to assert that, by seven, this ‘vast majority’ of children have acquired automaticity in reading and spelling. What I’d like to know is: where’s the evidence?
I agree that ‘[t]hese skills are not acquired by chance’ and that they ‘require well-structured, systematic teaching, regular application and practice’. This is exactly the kind of instruction all children should be getting, but, again, where’s the evidence that this is happening?
It’s also noticeable that the question of assessment has been neglected by Jim’s latest report, according to the BBC education news channel, because Ed Balls has set up a body of experts, – at which point we all cringe! – , which will be reporting shortly. Don’t hold your breath in the hope that they’ll come up with anything that will tell us whether or not children are learning to read.