Phonics resits plan for seven and eight-year-olds dropped

The Department for Education says that it will not proceed any further with the idea of Year 3 pupils retaking phonics tests, after a trial found that nearly half failed for a third time

Adi Bloom

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The government has abandoned the idea of Year 3 pupils retaking phonics screening tests.

As TES reported earlier today, a Department for Education pilot project, published today, revealed that almost half of seven and eight-year-olds who had twice failed the phonics check did not meet the standard on the second retake.

And more than a third of teachers said that repeating the test again at the end of Year 3 – two years after it was first taken – had no positive impact on their teaching of phonics.

'It doesn't deliver for pupils'

Now the DfE has confirmed that it will be dropping plans to allow for a second retake of the test. A spokesperson told TES: “[The pilot] was a small-scale piece of work looking at the impact of phonics check retakes in Year 3. On balance, we have decided not to proceed with it any further. They are not going to go ahead.”

The NAHT heads' union has welcomed this decision. Russell Hobby, general secretary, said: “The government has seen what many professionals have been saying: retaking phonics screening adds to workload and does not deliver for pupils.

“The government is often attracted to retakes and resits, when, in fact, a different approach to teaching is needed.”

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Adi Bloom

Adi Bloom is Tes comment editor

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