The Rose Review: good or bad news for reading standards?

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Chris Jolly, Publisher of Jolly Phonics, has some strong reservations about the Rose Review and its potential impact on reading standards. Find out more in his letter to Literacy Time PLUS.


This week, Sir Jim Rose wrote to the Schools Secretary Ed Balls to update him on the progress made in children’s early reading over the last three years. The key to children’s reading success, he suggested, was in the quality of teaching, and progress made in the teaching of reading in the pre-school sector has not always been sustained in the infant classroom.

Sir Jim believes that the six broad areas of learning being proposing in his Primary Review, to replace individual subjects, will give teachers more flexibility, relieve the pressure of an ‘overloaded’ curriculum, and enable infant teachers to focus more closely on raising standards in reading.

Sir Jim’s comments, and many of his suggestions for a Primary Review, do not all sit well with Chris Jolly, Publisher of the leading UK synthetic phonics programme, Jolly Phonics. Chris sent Literacy Time PLUS the following response.

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  1. SmileyPR
    on 5 August 2010


    I disagree with Mr Jolly's about starting formal teaching earlier in the EY. I agree that phonics need to be given a special short time in the day, but this one should help the children understand that they can use this knowledge throughout the day via they play activities, like we use it in our daily activities. I had a student last year who came from a school which pushed all the 42 phonemes in the 1st term of his R year and the boy did not have that much joy about school, which was affecting his behaviour. He transferred in April to our school and the change was enormous. His behaviour changed and he truly showed his literacy skills level, improving consciously through play activities that were topic related.

    It is well known that other countries have achieved higher results even when they only started teaching formal phonics/literacy at the age of 7. There are many other aspects to take in consideration, e.g. teacher-student ratio... particularly in Reception.

    2out of 5