Ill-equipped to teach 11-year-olds to read

21st February 1997 at 00:00
Case study. Caroline Prince-Wright, 35, literacy support teacher, Crownwood primary school, Bracknell, Berkshire.

When I left training college (North Riding College in Scarborough) in 1982, I felt ill-equipped to teach reading; we were taught far less than I had expected. I was left to find out about phonic awareness myself, so I was very pleased to see phonology in the new curriculum.

My first job was teaching 10 and 11-year-olds and I thought that they would all be reading to a good standard; when I found they couldn't, I realised I didn't have a clue about teaching reading. I learnt all I know from in-service courses.

I'm not sure about the specialist subject (the new requirements for all primary teachers to develop a specialist subject to A-level standard). It is more important to have a good general background at primary level.

I'm not convinced either that the new curriculum will attract more people into teaching; a think a lot of students will decide that the salary for newly-qualified teachers simply does not match up to the demanding new requirements.

In general though, my reaction is that this is a remedy to the hotch-potch approach to training and will shake up the whole training system. It's a logical development from the national curriculum for schools. Some headteachers may find it all a bit daunting - they'll be faced with a new generation of extremely well-informed newly qualified teachers who may know more than they do.

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