Sinking hearts

7th April 2006 at 01:00
I read with a sinking heart your sub-heading "Government will force every teacher of reading to use 'synthetic phonics' " (TES, March 24).

As a union general secretary with recent primary teaching experience, I am not in favour of political prescription of the curriculum, which I believe should be determined by the consensus of professional educators. While the synthetic phonics method is a valuable part of the teacher's toolkit, it is not the only method of teaching reading. Professionals recognise that children learn in different ways and that different approaches to the teaching of reading can enhance children's learning. Phonics should be only one of the methods used to teach reading.

Philip Parkin Professional Associationof Teachers 2 St James' Court Friar Gate, Derby

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