Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Replacing the Strategies? Who will lead on expertise and 'good practice'?

Anonymous has just written a reply to the posting on MAs for NQTs, saying:
John said, "Policy Exchange advocates allowing schools to innovate and share tried and established good practice. Let's hope that the abandonment of the Strategies allows that to happen."
Unfortunately John, what will happen is that schools will share their practice. But they all believe what they do is good practice, without any evidence as to whether it is or not. So lots of practice will be shared, most of it of very little use. If current practice in teaching literacy were good, then we wouldn't have 300000 effectively illiterate pupils leaving our schools every year!
Unfortunately, Anonymous is spot on! If schools ‘cluster’ together, as many of them are already doing, there’s no guarantee that what they’re doing will work. In fact, I can think of a cluster of schools in Milton Keynes who have adopted a system of teaching reading and spelling which purports to be phonic, is based on no evidence whatever that it works, and which I have seen crash time after time. They have invested a considerable sum of money in the project and the likely outcome is that: a) the head responsible for taking it on will refuse point blank to consider that she might have been wrong; b) that the teaching staff are put off phonics for good; c) in the meantime, another significant group of children are not taught properly and will later join the ranks of children failing to gain five good GCSEs (if they still exist!) that include maths and English. In the meantime, this cluster is slowly haemorrhaging pupils to two other schools in the area that are using, with great success, a linguistic phonics approach. Crazy!


  1. You might be interested in this John:

    Do you think Ed Balls saw your posting?


  2. I doubt it, Lizzie. Ed Balls has been too busy ringing the editor of the Spectator in the last week.

  3. Lizzie, see 'Talking Balls' at: