Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

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Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by Susan Godsland » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:28 am

Yesterday, on twitter, 'mao' flagged up this Oxford Mail story:

http://m.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/11779558 ... ect_fails/
A SCHEME set up by Oxford City Council to improve reading in primary schools has been dubbed a “shambles” after it emerged all six schools have dropped out before its completion.

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley warned children in the city have been left “unable to read” because the city council decided to launch its own three-year reading programme, at a cost of £505,000, rather than taking up a county council scheme.
Reading further, we learn that the 'scheme' that left children ''unable to read'' was Solity's KRM programme:
The city council appointed psychological and educational research consultants KRM in 2012 to help improve on 2010’s poor Key Stage 1 results, the worst in reading and writing in the country.

But it emerged that all six schools on the KRM reading programme – John Henry Newman, St John Fisher, East Oxford, Pegasus, Windale, and Orchard Meadow – had dropped out two years into the three-year scheme.

Mrs Tilley said: “I’m really upset there are children who still can’t read in the city because the city council didn’t follow our programme.

“I asked the city council if they wanted to come in on our reading programme and they didn’t say yes or no. Then they went on and started their own programme and lorded it over us saying we weren’t doing our jobs properly.

“The reason it [the scheme] failed was because it wasn’t purely reading, it was based on lots of psychometric testing which causes kids to lose interest.

“Now I’m stuck with trying to help the city’s children and I don’t know if we can now get any more money to do it.”

City councillor Mohammed AltafKhan, a Liberal Democrat member of the scrutiny committee, said: “It’s a shambles; we’re not getting the results we should be.

It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money.
'mao' flagged up this article because he noticed that Jonathan Solity is going to be speaking at the Dyslexia Ireland conference in April. The subject of his talk is:

“Are Synthetic Phonics Programmes and the
Phonics Screen Major Causes of Dyslexia?”


The 'county council scheme', turned down by the city council, was Project X.
The county council’s reading campaign, Project X, was backed by the Oxford Mail and ran in more than 60 primary schools across Oxfordshire for two years, from 2012 to 2014, costing a total of £600,000.
The county council claim that ''Children taking part in [Project X] raised their reading age by 13 months after only four months''

No evidence is provided for this claim.

Here's what Diane McGuinness had to say about OUP's research study that they used to promote Project X.
http://www.rrf.org.uk/messageforum/view ... f=1&t=5467

geraldinecarter
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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by geraldinecarter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:25 pm

Fascinating - thanks to Mao for tweeting the information.

Oxfordshire mainly use Arch volunteer readers ' to impart a love of books and reading and developing a valuable mentoring relationship ' for children one-to-one 3 half hours weekly - lots of games etc. v. short training. It does, of course, work for some children as any
one to one 'tuition' will, but Oxford is still falling behind. It's not money that's needed....

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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by chew8 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:38 am

I wonder which particular Project X scheme they use - there are three that I know of. The original Project X books were intended to contain lots of action and adventure to motivate boys. Then there was Project X Phonics, which I think is OK phonics-wise. Finally there was Project X Code, which I don't know much about.

Jenny C.

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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by Susan Godsland » Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:40 am

Jenny, Project X CODE was the version used in Oxford. See my post on this thread:

www.rrf.org.uk/messageforum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5430

chew8
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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by chew8 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:42 pm

Thanks, Susan.

I was sent a 2013-14 report from Edge Hill University which showed what seemed to be quite good results from Project X Code, but I can't remember the details.

One of the schools where I help has recently acquired some of the original Project X books, and the Y3 children who are already reasonable readers seem to like them (girls as well as boys), so perhaps they do help to provide bulk reading for those children.

Jenny C.

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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by geraldinecarter » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:29 pm

One of my criticisms is that for the ££££ these books provide very little reading practice. They keep children dumbed down and have nothing to do with high aspirations. If you look at the blogs of the Michaela School's six teachers - after only 2 terms - and see their extraordinary high expectations of all the children in this very deprived area you will learn what high aspirations can achieve And there are a number of SP schools that seem to be introducing children to challenging, sustained reading from year 2. I haven't changed my mind that even those children who struggle need to start tackling challenging, sustained reading by 7. Schools with SSP should have less than 2-5% who need 2- dimensional reading.
And possibly children with EAL coming into the school system after years 1 and 2 - though these children are in great need of increasing their vocabulary, learning through reading, as quickly as possible.

chew8
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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by chew8 » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:50 pm

The books which one of my schools has are the original Project X books. Are those the ones you mean, Geraldine, or do you mean the Project X Code or Project X Phonics books?

Jenny C.

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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by JIM CURRAN » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:35 pm

I agree Geraldine,high expectations are vitally important.With good,well implemented SP programmes only a tiny minority will need extra,usually one to one support by age 7. The majority need the challenge of real books and all the positives that accrue,increased vocabulary,fluent reading,good comprehension,improved spelling and creative writing and most importantly the joy of reading.

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Re: Solity's scheme in Oxford left children 'unable to read'

Post by JAC » Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:42 pm

I was under the impression that Jonathan Solity was a 'precision teaching' proponent. Maybe the 'psychometric testing' complained about was the essence of precision teaching ie using the standard celeration charts? I can imagine untrained teachers having difficulty with this on a large scale.
I wnish there were more details.

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