New research into using phonics in teaching basic English

Experiences of those who teach prisoners, individuals with special educational needs and disabilities, and non-English speakers will inform the research

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The way in which phonics is used in the teaching of English to adults will be the focus of a major new research programme announced today by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).

It has commissioned University College London to investigate current approaches to the use of phonics in functional skills English with adult learners. Researchers will use focus groups and an online survey. Their findings will help shape advice and guidance given by the ETF to teachers during the run-up to the introduction of the reformed functional skills qualifications in English and maths next year.

Phonics in context

The research will take account of the range of contexts in which functional skills are currently taught and the profiles of different learner groups, including those within the criminal justice system, people learning English as a second language and individuals with special educational needs and disabilities. It also aims to identify barriers to, and enablers of, effective practice.

Imke Djouadj, ETF head of maths and English, said: “This research and its findings will play a key role in giving depth to the forthcoming functional skills reform. It is why it is vital that as many practitioners take part in the focus groups and surveys. When the survey is launched we will promote it throughout the sector.”

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