Christine Gilbert · literacy · Ofsted · Sounds-Write · teaching reading and spelling

Illiteracy: another admission of failure

So Ofsted’s chief inspector for schools Christine Gilbert has suddenly come to the conclusion that failure to teach children to read and spell is not to do with poverty or ethnic background. It’s because they are not being taught properly!
The Sunday Times today (14.11.10) has reported Ms Gilbert as saying that progress in ‘improving literacy had stalled for the past four years and blamed the failure of too many schools for not teaching reading systematically using synthetic phonics’. Apparently, Ms Gilbert has come round to the realisation that ‘anybody from any school can teach almost any child to read if they go about it without compromise and with absolute commitment’.
There’s only one thing she seems to have forgotten: it doesn’t matter how committed a teacher is, if they haven’t been properly trained, standards will not improve.
Twice in recent years Sounds-Write has sent Ms Gilbert our painstakingly gathered data and both times has received the briefest and most perfunctory reply. That’s because Ms Gilbert thinks that she, Ofsted and the DoE know best. That they don’t is signalled by the latest admission of failure.
What’s the message? Train the teachers!

One thought on “Illiteracy: another admission of failure

  1. My friend Boswell tells me that the Sunday Telegraph also ran this story, quoting Ofsted as saying that, ´in the latest report … policies had led to improvements in some areas, including better training and support for teachers. But overall progress had stalled in recent years as the number of initiatives has grown, said Ofsted.
    Of course, in the case of literacy, by ´better training´, Ofsted means, ´Letters and Sounds´. The problem with L&S is that it isn´t a training: it´s a folder. It could be the best folder in the world (It isn´t!) but if teachers are not taught how to use the folder and why they are to follow the instructional approach therein, they won´t, as we see in school after school, be able to teach the material effectively.

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