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Wales refuses to follow England

Resistance is growing in Wales against the introduction and enforcement of a national literacy programme similar to the English model.

Bill Maxwell, chief inspector of schools in Wales, said last week that teachers would not be expected to change the way they taught reading skills by the Welsh inspectorate, Estyn.

His colleague, Wendy Young, told delegates at a national literacy conference organised by the inspectorate, that Estyn would not be pushing for a national literacy scheme because it would take flexibility and freedom from those who knew their classes and pupils best - teachers.

Viv Edwards, professor of language in education at the University of Reading, criticised England's reliance on phonics teaching and said no one method suited every child. "Most practitioners have continued to promote the belief in a balanced approach, but overall the pendulum has swung increasingly towards teaching phonics," she said.

It was a "personal pleasure" that Wales had not followed England's move towards statutory phonics "like a load of lemmings", she added.

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