In Britain, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has told schools to go back to teaching phonics “amid growing concern that one in five 11-year-olds is unable to read or write properly.” Kelly was influenced by a study in Scotland that found students taught phonics ended up “3½ years ahead of their normal reading age.”
Update: The Telegraph blames centralized control for the disastrous literacy policy.
The National Literacy Strategy, the Government’s response to mass illiteracy launched in 1998, adopted the whole-word method and imposed it on every school in the land.
David Blunkett, the Education Secretary who introduced the Literacy Strategy, promised to resign in 2002 unless 80 per cent met the expected standard of English on leaving primary school. The target has never been met, but Mr Blunkett long ago moved on to higher things.
The Telegraph wonders what other education advances might be developed if local innovation were tolerated.