Ed Ball's evasion of valid questions and observations:

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chew8
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Post by chew8 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:41 pm

I have found this on the Every Child a Reader site:

'Local authorities will also manage arrangements with other LA partners to ensure that full Reading Recovery programmes were targeted only at the very lowest attaining children, rather than at those who can benefit from lower cost interventions. This would be achieved by targeting funding on the basis of actual numbers predicted to achieve Level W or a low Level 1 at the end of Key Stage 1. Two or more schools with low numbers of children predicted these levels might share a Reading Recovery teacher. Schools with high numbers might have two teachers.'

Can one deduce from this that it won't juat be a matter of the 6 weakest in each class being put into Reading Recovery?

Jenny C.

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Post by Hammered » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:49 pm

In that case how many of these children will there actually be? I have a little girl who is by far the weakest I have taught and she has had 2 years of synthetic phonics and now going in to year 2 we are hoping she will be 2c or 1a at the end of KS1. There can't be that many children (excluding those with severe needs) who are expected to reach W/1c at the end of Y2 if they have had good phonics teaching in YR and beginning of Y1.

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maizie
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Post by maizie » Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:51 pm

..full Reading Recovery programmes were targeted only at the very lowest attaining children, rather than at those who can benefit from lower cost interventions.


Well, that'll be interesting, because I suspect that those children are the ones that would normally be 'referred on' after a full dose of RR.

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Post by chew8 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:24 pm

There may well be a ray of hope here. As Hammered says, 'There can't be that many children (excluding those with severe needs) who are expected to reach W/1c at the end of Y2 if they have had good phonics teaching in YR and beginning of Y1'. IF Hammered's school had RR, it should be saying 'We don't have any candidates for RR this year, according to the Every Child a Reader criteria'. As more schools do even half-way decent synthetic phonics in Reception, there should be fewer and fewer children who look as if they are heading for W or Level 1 in Year 2, so if ECAR sticks to what it has said, there should be fewer and fewer candidates for RR.

Let's hope that schools have the sense to realise that the 'lower cost' interventions are the ones that just revisit and reinforce the phonics teaching that the children have had in Reception and perhaps haven't quite caught on to.

Jenny C.

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Post by Susan Godsland » Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:29 pm


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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:57 pm


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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Sep 02, 2008 12:02 am

Well - the 'struggling' and 'lowest attaining' children that I have ever known of would not have fared better on 'Catch Up' and 'Reading Recovery' teaching - far from it.

There is NO child that I would teach with these programmes in preference to good synthetic phonics teaching and general enrichment.

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Post by chew8 » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:32 am

I am not saying that I would want any children on Reading Recovery or Catch-Up etc., but just trying to address the point that has been made several times recently on this thread about RR taking the 6 weakest in each class - Maizie mentioned this on 18 Aug., Debbie on 31 Aug., and Susan S. on 1 Sept. I was trying to point out that what is said on the Every Child a Reader (ECAR) site implies that this may not be what is intended to happen from now on in England. If so, then things may not be quite so bad on this particular front as they seemed. They may still be bad on other fronts, so why not concentrate on these fronts rather than wasting our energy on an area where there is probably less of a battle to be fought than we thought?

We would all prefer overnight change to a situation where everything is exactly as we want it but this is hardly ever attainable. That being so, we need to welcome even small steps in the right direction. We have now had a year of post-Rose teaching - this will have been no more than half-hearted in many schools, but I would hope that even this will have helped teachers to see that the increased emphasis on reading by sounding out and blending has worked well and that more of the same, rather than RR, Catch-Up etc., is the best bet for children who are entering Year 1 without having quite 'got it'.

Jenny C.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:58 pm

G. Carter just posted this on another thread:
This was announced on Radio 4 Today programme.

30,000 children - the bottom 5% - to receive Reading Recovery daily one-to-one for one term at cost of £175 million.

Jean Gross wants Reading Recovery rolled out to 10% of children.
I don't consider 30,000 children receiving Reading Recovery a small matter.

What 'front' is more important than our weakest strugglers being given the mix and mess of Reading Recovery?

I would fight the battle for only 1 child.

Each one of the 30,000 is just as important as the next.

Parents should, at the very least, be given the choice of the intervention programme.

But I don't mean 'choice' without the full information about different teaching approaches and the international concern about the efficacy of using the Reading Recovery programme.

In the meantime, which other front would it be better to turn our attention to?

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Post by chew8 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:26 am

I, too, would fight the battle for just one child. What I'm trying to say is that in fighting this battle we should drop arguments that may be irrelevant and concentrate on those which are most relevant and potent. The Every Child a Reader (ECAR) information suggests that it won't be the case, from now on, that the weakest six children in each class will be given Reading Recovery. Instead, RR will be given to children who, in Year 1, look as if they're heading for Level 1 or below at the end of Year 2 (funding is to be allocated 'on the basis of actual numbers predicted to achieve Level W or a low Level 1 at the end of Key Stage 1'), and it is being recognised that numbers may vary from school to school ('Two or more schools with low numbers of children predicted these levels might share a Reading Recovery teacher. Schools with high numbers might have two teachers.').

As this is there in black and white on the ECAR site, let's stop saying that one of our concerns is that the weakest 6 will get RR willy-nilly. Let's rather concentrate on the following sort of argument: 'The very weakest child of all in Hammered's school is predicted to do better than Level 1 in Year 2, so according to ECAR's criteria she won't need RR. The same is true of the very weakest children in the following schools that we can name...... . What are these schools doing to achieve this situation? They are teaching very good synthetic phonics in Reception. If they can do it, so can other schools. Prevention is better than cure..... etc.'.

Jenny C.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:58 pm

Jean Gross wants Reading Recovery rolled out to 10% of children.
Three children, on average, out of every full class of infant children, then!

I still wouldn't want my 'bottom three' to receive Reading Recovery type teaching.

I shall continue to object very loudly and clearly about this because I have a self-appointed moral obligation to do so.

My personal teaching and head-teaching experience and my wider reading and understanding of research on reading instruction and intervention methods alarms me enormously about the current state of affairs. Couple that with my experience of politicians and educationalists-with-authority and I am exceptionally alarmed.

Add to that my observations of the personal scenarious of the vast majority of parents of children who are slower-to-learn or who have genuine learning difficulties - and I simply cannot rest about this issue. It's wrong.

The way that this promotion of Reading Recovery has snowballed has shown, in my opinion, that no matter what the 'evidence' from across the world, powerful people with enormous authority can ride roughshod over any evidence they choose.

I would also suggest that the smaller the number of children apparently 'requiring' Reading Recovery teaching (by Jean Gross's standards), the less representation from people like us that group will receive.

They will just be children in the shadows of adult decisions.

Can you imagine that the new swathe of Reading Recovery trained teachers will relinquish their careers and volunteer to no-longer be Reading Recovery teachers as standards of reading improve with synthetic phonics teaching?

I have no doubt that people with authority and 'kudos' training will continue to carve a niche for themselves.

As the standards of the bottom three children rise, will Reading Recovery disappear?

The bottom line is, however, that the bottom three, or two, or one, will be less well-served by the mess of Reading Recovery reading instruction methodology than synthetic phonics teaching.

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Post by maizie » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:08 pm

Can you imagine that the new swathe of Reading Recovery trained teachers will relinquish their careers and volunteer to no-longer be Reading Recovery teachers as standards of reading improve with synthetic phonics teaching?
If this is anything to go by, no!

From the 2007 ECAR report:
Every child a Reader has also attracted interest in Parliament, with a number of Paarliamentary questions asked , debates in the House of commons in October and May and one in the House of Lords in December (I think they are talking of 2006 here). MPs in a number of constituencies have visited schools to see the programme. We are encouiraging local authorities to suggest to lead schools involved in the initiative that they invite their local MP and councillor to visit - the aim being to secure well embedded local support for the programme, that will withstand any turbulence in national policy
Unblushing!

To be read in conjunction with Polly Toynbee's comments brushing aside the importance of methodology, as reported earlier in this thread, and Zig Englemann's comment on the mindset of bureaucracy which I posted earlier today, here:

viewtopic.php?t=3588

Nobody particularly cares about the detail.

chew8
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Post by chew8 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:19 pm

I'm sure most RRFers would agree in not wanting Reading Recovery for strugglers. The question, for me, is how best to argue the case. I feel that what has been said on the ECAR site provides one useful opening: if the official position is that RR will be targeted just at Year 1 children who look as if they're heading for Level 1 or below in Year 2, we should be pointing to the evidence from schools which prevent this situation from arising in the first place by the kind of teaching they provide in Reception.

I am also mindful of the following from Susan S:

'Students who have had a fairly solid grounding in SP during Reception may in fact blossom with RR -- the data show that students who do well in Reading Recovery are those who already have good alphabetic code knowledge and phonological processing skills. When those are solid, the "meaning-emphasis" approach in RR may facilitate their becoming better readers. I have seen this happen with children who decode adequately but whose text comprehension is relatively weak. If their sounding-out strategy is already secure, Reading Recovery will not undo it ..... .'

That's another good reason for putting a lot of energy into pushing for decoding to be really well taught in Reception. If Susan is right, RR could then actually help children to 'blossom'. I, personally, haven't seen this happening specifically with RR, but I have certainly seen children getting to a certain point in decoding and then blossoming just by getting lots of reading practice. This would, I think, fit in with David Share's research-based view about self-teaching setting in.

Jenny C.

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Post by maizie » Wed Sep 03, 2008 10:38 pm

Children who are heading for a L1 or below in Y2 aren't the children who have either, had a 'solid grounding' in SP, or whose 'solid grounding' has stuck! In other words, not the children who Susan S was speaking of.

I'm partially quite cheered by this, as I am sure that these will be the children who RR would normally 'refer on'. So maybe their stats won't look quite so good in future.

On the other hand, I'm sure that RR will put any 'failures' down to deficits in the children and determindly perpetuate the myth that these children are unteachable...

I resent the thought of my taxes going to subsidise an expensive and ineffective 'intervention' which has inserted itself into the public domain by politicking, expensive publicity and dubious research :twisted:

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:28 pm

I resent the thought of my taxes going to subsidise an expensive and ineffective 'intervention' which has inserted itself into the public domain by politicking, expensive publicity and dubious research.
Me too! :cry:

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