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Teachers taking the rap for government literacy failings

As yet more depressing statistics emerge about children who can’t achieve basic standards of literacy, it’s time to give teachers the tools they need in their fight to help children achieve their potential.

I’m not a teacher, but I sympathise with them. How a teacher’s heart must sink as wave after wave of bad press threatens to engulf the job they feel passionately about, consigning the profession they joined with high hopes of making a difference to the collective rubbish bin for supposedly letting our children down.

This week, the government’s school league tables show that three-quarters of children in England who make a slow start in the “Three Rs” at primary school fail to catch up by the time they leave.

Teachers then have to suffer the mortification as well meaning charities and government initiatives ‘ride to the rescue’ to save children by taking matters in to their own hands. This demoralises the teachers and calls their abilities into question.

As the founder of a company that produces a reading toolkit created by a teacher that consistently brings a reluctant reader to a level of reading competency in a matter of a term or so that would normally take at least 18 months at school, you’d think we’d be coining it in with such a demand for our services. Sadly this is not the case, and it’s down to a crucial design element that is both the beauty of the scheme and the target of government literacy discrimination.

What’s this pivotal issue? It does not use the synthetic phonics method insisted on by the government, and you pay a price when you dare to express doubt in this hallowed area.  Last week Julia Donaldson, the Gruffalo author had the audacity to suggest that one reading method does not suit every child and found her books excluded from the government recommended reading list.

This tide of negative literacy statistics is not down to poor teaching. We are being let down by the government’s heavy handedness in freezing out methods that should be available to teachers. If teachers will join the reading book authors and bring about the astounding effects that I’ve seen many times, then perhaps the government will finally give teachers the credit they deserve.