Getting forensic with phonics: Ofsted's focus on the early stages of reading
https://www.hertsforlearning.co.uk/blog ... es-reading
Ofsted have an even bigger focus on the early stages of reading, including phonics, now. This was always there, if the school’s inspection trail led there, but it is now a compulsory area to be looked into. This is because there are children still slipping through the net and the longer that persists, the bigger the gaps and the harder it is to reverse them. This of course means children will struggle to access the wider curriculum, their vocabulary acquisition suffers and it all becomes a vicious circle. Projecting forwards, we know too that social mobility is very much affected by poorer literacy skills. There is a high proportion of people (especially men) in the criminal justice system with literacy difficulties and so this has now become a huge priority for the government.
The good news is that some of this is preventable. There is now an overwhelming amount of evidence to show that some literacy difficulties can be traced back to gaps forming early on, lack of school attendance, lack of mileage of text-reading etc, resulting in some children’s difficulties becoming entrenched confusions. Giving all children a systematic hit of synthetic phonics means all children are ‘immunised’ from an early age. Any other reasons for falling behind (e.g. developmental language disorder, hearing impairment, neuro-diversity etc) can then be investigated and provision appropriately mapped. But preventative immunisation must be given before it is ruled out. This is not to say schools are not trying hard – this renewed focus is aiming to help schools fine-tune where they focus their efforts most of all, especially for the lowest attaining 20% of readers.