ASCL response to UCL's paper on teaching of reading

19/01/2022
Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on UCL’s paper about the government’s approach to the teaching of reading.
 
Commenting on UCL’s paper about the government’s approach to the teaching of reading, Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“We welcome this research from UCL as part of the ongoing discussion about how best to teach children to read, which is obviously of vital importance to their future education and life chances.
 
“There is clear evidence that synthetic phonics provides a strong foundation to help children to learn to read. But it is important that this is combined with approaches which help children to appreciate stories and develop a love of reading. In practice, schools are well aware of this and work very hard to take an approach to teaching which employs the use of phonics but supports this with a range of other approaches too.
 
“We would certainly like to see a reduction in statutory primary assessments because there are currently too many. However, the phonics check is a relatively short assessment which gives a useful snapshot at an important early stage, so we would favour looking at reducing other assessment rather than this one.
 
“What we would most like to see is more focus from the government on early years education so that all children are able to start school with the building blocks in place that help them to become confident readers.”