Phonics tests begin this week

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

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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.

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