Synthetic Phonic practitioners -schools, teachers, tutors...

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Susan Godsland
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Synthetic Phonic practitioners -schools, teachers, tutors...

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Sep 30, 2005 12:33 pm

Something that I think would be REALLY useful for parents is a readily available list of schools, teachers (if they are the only one in the school using SP), classroom assistants and tutors who use synthetic phonics following the principles outlined in RRF newsletter 53.

Would anybody like to start a list on this thread? If enough names are collected then perhaps it could become a new page on the RRF website?

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Post by Guest » Fri Sep 30, 2005 5:09 pm

I would love to see alist of SP schools. As well as helpful for parents, it would be handy when looking for a new job!

However, I think a list of individual TAs might be a bit tricky. Parents would be tempted to ask why, say, only a TA uses SP when class teachers don't. While that might sound like an opening for a reasoned debate it could put jobs and working relationships at jeopardy. "Teacher knows best", after all. In my own case, it might be argued that what I do complements the mix of strategies for children who "take a bit longer to get going" when in fact I am trying to lessen the damage caused by such methods.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Sep 30, 2005 8:55 pm

I, Debbie Hepplewhite, declare that I am a synthetic phonics teacher.

The children in my Y1/2 class gained the best writing results in my authority by far for at least two years (don't know the comparisons for other years - didn't receive a graph). One of these cohorts has just gained 75% level 5s in the end of key stage 2 tests - lots of boys included!

I introduced synthetic phonics as policy when I was headteacher of a primary school which was a failed school. I was told that I must do the NLS until better standards had been reached but I refused. I could not engage the LEA or the Ofsted inspection team or the HMI in debate. It was impossible. The LEA and Diocese presided over the failure of this school for many years. An acting headteacher subsequently threw out synthetic phonics and a teacher and teaching assistant left the school on principle. The LEA supported the headteacher's actions stating that the LEA must support government policy.

About three months after that, Kevan Collins (then Primary Strategy Director) sent out a letter to all education authorities stating that synthetic phonics was at the heart of the NLS! My LEA then started to make this same claim and I sent a report - with evidence - to illustrate that this was not the case. I sent out this report to several LEA advisers and the Special Needs Support Team, the NUT and the NAHT. I received no response despite constant requests for a response.

The Department for Education and Skills and the Local Education Authority cannot have it both ways. They cannot claim the NLS is not synthetic phonics one minute and then is synthetic phonics the next. People are putting their careers on the line.

I don't belong to any school since starting up with professional training but I continue to encourage schools to convert to synthetic phonics where standards need to be raised. The official response to schools with low results is to enforce more formal target-setting on such schools - especially for the 'borderline' children. More bureaucracy and pressure for heads and teachers.

This is not the way forward in my opinion.

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Post by bwking » Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:14 pm

Susan's very reasonable and practical suggestion of a way for parents to get their kids into a Synthetic Phonics-teaching school has obviously been scratching away in my unconscious. Surely it's possible to list schools that have an ESTABLISHED regime/tradition of SP (the British generally find a tradition inviolable), without incurring danger for the practitioners?

Little ole non-teacher me will start it off (from my increasingly feeble memory - I'm sure many of you teachers have a much better one):

Kobi Nazrul, Tower Hamlets, London.(?)
St. Michael's, Gloucesters.(?)
Clackmannanshire (various), Scotland(easy enough to get their details)

We can affirm the above and any subsequent ones after we start getting a reasonable collection together. What say?

B.

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Post by Guest » Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:42 pm

What about the Case study schools on the Jolly Phonics website?

quipg.

Post by quipg. » Wed Oct 05, 2005 10:54 pm

Sorry to be a wet blanket but in Sussex I never came across a single S.P. school and I had children from 30 different schools over a 5 year period - the results in Sussex are abyssmal and levels of illiteracy and reading difficulty quite shocking (in spite of many of the teachers having the 'benefit' of being 'trained' at Henrietta Dombey's prestigeous college - Brighton University).

The local village school in Barcombe introduced Jolly Phonics and after being a school in melt-down became one of the best schools in Sussex, I believe. But never had time to investigate whether they were doing Jolly Phonics exclusively (schools say they are doing Jolly Phonics and turn out to be taking bits of the programme without understanding how synthetic phonics works and therefore try to mix it with 'Searchlights' and all the mixed strategy flummery that entails).

Here in Oxford the situation is quite catastrophic - they are way down the tables. The Ed. Establishment here will do anything rather than bring in S.P.
and even backed the bastardized 'Code Breakers' for its Education Action Zone (bit like bringing in Reading Recovery, I suppose).

Another problem is that S.P is often taught in Reception and then another teacher takes over in year l who is concerned only to placate Ofsted and so tries to grapple with PIPs and a dogs' dinner of materials.

But, syntheticphonics.com, TES Early Years and Primary forums and the surprising Mumsnet forum, Education threads, all point to a tremendous growth in S.P. teaching and great enthusiasm for the results it achieves.

It is only when heads (who generally are appointed from years 4-6, I believe and who have no real understanding about the process of reading) are properly trained will there be widespread adoption of S.P.

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Post by bwking » Wed Oct 05, 2005 11:11 pm

Thanks for the Jolly Phonics case studies, Guest - I'll investigate for ESTABLISHED practice.

Geraldine, that was very negative: I suggested listing Established SP teaching. I feel sure there are schools where SP has become so fixed that recruitment of new teachers can safely be done on the basis of their knowledge of/at least desire to teach SP. Am I wrong?

B.

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Post by bwking » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:17 pm

Well, I (and I'm sure Susan) thank you for your enthusiastic contributions.

What about putting the heading in the following innocuous form: 'These schools are CURRENTLY employing a Synthetic Phonics programme in teaching their entrant children and enjoying outstanding results with early literacy'?

Kobi Nazrul primary school, Tower Hamlets, London
Birstall County junior & infants school, Birstall, W. Yorks.
Deerpark primary school, Alloa, Clackmannans., Scotland
St. Michael's school, Stoke Gifford, nr. Bristol.......

Eh, I'm busting my b...s for ye here, Susan. What can I say?

B.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:45 pm

Well, considering the extensive training schedule for the Ruth Miskin Literacy programme, there are certainly many schools now undertaking synthetic phonics teaching.

I know that Sounds~Write is also making ground if John Walker would like to contribute to this thread with updated information.

Then, speaking for my own training, Jolly Phonics continues to be extremely popular but most attendees admit that they have not being teaching it as the authors intended.

I am very hopeful that following training in the synthetic phonics teaching principles, they will certainly be teaching it syntheticphonically now!

Attendees are very appreciative of receiving clear information and wish they had received it many years ago. Of course one of my main worries re the Ruth Kelly's claims that synthetic phonics is at the heart of the NLS and that Playing with Sounds is a synthetic phonics programme, is that teachers will be duped into thinking that they ARE teaching synthetic phonics when they are not.

The only way they can be clear about this is to receive transparent information about what synthetic phonics is and is not.

Does that look likely thus far?

We shall have to wait and see.

Guest

Post by Guest » Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:43 pm

As a parent, I would love to see a list of schools, etc.

I am currently looking for a private tutor. We live in keighley West Yorkshire. Does anyone know of a tutor who can teach syntheic phonics.

I trying to teach my son myself, but I'm not very good.

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