The literacy standards of all six-year-olds are to be checked using a phonics-based test, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced this week.
A light-touch test will be used to establish if children have grasped the basics of phonic decoding by the end of Year 1. The tests are aimed at identifying those children who are not reaching the expected level for reading and may need additional support.
Mr Gove said that “in spite of the hard work of teachers and pupils, too many children are currently not reaching the expected reading levels at age seven and age eleven.”
The Government has launched a public consultation to ask teachers, parents, professionals and the public to submit views on how the check might work. The scheme will be piloted in summer 2011 ready for implementation nationwide from summer 2012.
The Government has also revised the core criteria that define the key features of an effective systematic synthetic phonics programme, to help schools in selecting a suitable programme. Publishers of products are invited to submit new self-assessment forms for their products, assessing them against the new criteria.