Does it sound right? The classroom tests using made-up words

All this week teachers will be screening children in Year 1 to find out how well they're learning to read. The "Phonics Screening Check" confronts children with a mixture of 20 real words and 20 more totally made up ones or nonsense words.

Pupils have to read them all - regardless of the fact they don't make any sense - and read 32 of them correctly in order to achieve a pass. Letters are sent home to parents explaining whether or not children pass - and if they don't they have to resit later.

So is the screening a good idea? When the screening check was introduced last year four in ten pupils failed to reach the expected standard.


Phonics tests begin this week

Controversial tests for six year olds get under way today in hundreds of primary schools today.