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Synthetic diet is good for you

The news that primary teachers are to be trained in the use of synthetic phonics ("Return to tradition as phonics is favoured", TES, February 3) is welcome.

The policy represents a positive step towards improving the reading skills of primary children. Too many children enter secondary schools lacking the essential skills they need to flourish academically.

Research has shown time and time again that high-quality systematic phonics instruction offers beginning readers solid foundations upon which to base literacy development.

Jim Rose, in his report in December, rightly emphasised the importance of children being introduced to systematic phonics teaching by the age of five.

Furthermore, as the US National Reading panel stated in a 2000 report, systematic synthetic phonics approaches have been found to be particularly beneficial for children with special needs, low achievers, and those of low socioeconomic status.

The Conservative party will help the Government implement these important changes, which will raise the quality of education in our schools.

Nick Gibb MP

Shadow Schools Minister House of Commons London

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