What is the test?
The Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. Your child will be tested on using phonics to read a list of words, some real, some not.
Why should I be concerned?
Your child will spend valuable reading time learning lists of nonsense words not enjoying books. If your child fails this test they will be retested in year 2. 9/10 heads and teachers believe the tests provide no additional information about a child’s reading abilities.
In the summer term of year 1, your child will be tested on using phonics to read a list of words. It will include a mixture of real words and meaningless ‘alien’ words.
To prepare, they’ll spend valuable reading time learning lists of nonsense words such as ‘snemp’, ‘blurst’ and ‘meft’. If your child fails the test in year 1, they’ll be retested in year 2.
Learning to read should be about loving stories and words and expanding the imagination, not only stringing sounds together just to sit a test. Drilling children on phonics is ruining their understanding and enjoyment of reading. Decoding sounds does not equal reading.
It’s time to drop nonsense words and the Phonics Check, but also all government primary school tests in 2020/2021, especially after the distress of a pandemic.
85% of headteachers believe the phonics screening check should not be compulsory and two-thirds of teachers and parents believe it should be scrapped.
Nine out of ten teachers and heads believe the test provides them with no additional useful information about pupils.
Four out of five teachers and heads believe the nonsense words should be dropped from the test.
Experts have pointed out that in recent years, results in the phonics screening check have gone up while those in the year 2 KS1 reading tests have gone down. The test has therefore not contributed to improved reading scores.