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Warning:C can spell creative or complacent

Last week's flurry of articles about spelling in the key stage 3 national strategy were untrue.

The lists are neither compulsory nor tested: they are the subject words most commonly misspelled by secondary pupils, collected by schools themselves. They are not inert lists: we train teachers how to teach them in ways that are active, engaging and transferable.

We are not embarrassed to promote better spelling or to help pupils with high frequency words. The strategy's training in spelling met with ecstatic evaluations: itwas our most highly-acclaimed piece of training.

In the past it has been employers and parents who have campaigned for more attention to basic skills. It would be ironic if academics, having reaped the benefits of effective language in their own careers, were the ones to deny it to the next generation.

The real threat to creativity is complacency.

Sue Hackman

Director, Key stage 3 English

National Centre for Literacy Numeracy and Key Stage Three

59-65 London Street

Reading, Berkshire

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