Min­is­ter slams anti-phon­ics head teach­ers

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Harry Yorke

HEAD teach­ers who re­sist teach­ing phon­ics are deny­ing stu­dents the “ed­u­ca­tion they de­serve”, the Schools Min­is­ter has warned.

At­tack­ing those who refuse to ac­cept the “over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence” in favour of phon­ics, Nick Gibb claimed that “fal­la­cious” be­liefs about reading had “blighted” the ed­u­ca­tion out­comes of “gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren”.

His warn­ing fol­lows years of fierce de­bate over phon­ics, a reading sys­tem which re­quires pupils to sound out let­ters and words. Whilst teach­ing phon­ics has been a manda­tory re­quire­ment since 2007, sev­eral aca­demics con­tinue to rail against it be­ing taught in schools.

Speak­ing at an ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Mr Gibb said that whilst the Gov­ern­ment was win­ning the “war” over reading in­struc­tion, “per­ni­cious ar­gu­ments” made by some aca­demics were un­der­min­ing its ef­forts.

He added that cam­paign­ing by min­is­ters and teach­ers had helped sparked a “reading revo­lu­tion.” Of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics from the De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion, show that 147,000 more six-year-olds be­came flu­ent read­ers in 2016 com­pared with the same pe­riod five years ago.

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