Labour to 'transform' literacy

20th March 1998 at 00:00
Radical changes to the way primary teachers work are unveiled today, as the long-awaited nuts and bolts of the Government's literacy strategy is published.

The Framework for Teaching will be sent to all primary schools from today and Labour promises it will transform primary education.

Michael Barber, head of the Department for Education and Employment's school standards unit, said the new teaching methods outlined in the pack were a "huge step forward" and that from September "every primary teacher in the country will understand and be using good practice".

It is unlikely, however, that the framework will meet with universal approval - the National Association of Head Teachers described the idea of a national teaching programme as "authoritarian".

David Hart, NAHT general secretary, said : "Heads are caught in a dilemma. They want to improve standards but they are worried about losing freedom, potential overload and bureaucracy."

The framework places a "strong and systematic emphasis on the teaching of phonics". Professor Barber said no one should be surprised by this: "We've said it before. A strong element of phonics, especially at key stage 1 is essential."

In order to implement the framework from September, the DFEE describes "the most systematic and ambitious programme of teacher training ever envisaged in this country". Professor Barber said the programme would allow teachers to put their creative energies where it mattered most - "in teaching", but that all schools and all teachers would now be expected to use the same programme.

* Framework details, page 16

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