Synthetic phonics and the Phonics Check: The hidden politics of early literacy
MetadataShow full item record
Wrigley, T. (2017) Synthetic phonics and the Phonics Check: The hidden politics of early literacy. In: Clark, M. M. (ed.) Reading the evidence: Synthetic phonics and literacy learning. Birmingham: Glendale Education.
Let us be clear from the start: the issue is not whether to use phonics to teach reading. Phonics has been a central aspect of teaching children to read for centuries. Phonics is about linking sounds to letters, so it is almost impossible not to use phonics when reading an alphabetical language such as English – unlike Chinese with its writing system based largely on pictures. Underlying this is another question: how a politician, Nick Gibb, now Minister for Schools, has managed to impose his fixed ideas on schools and compel teachers to use one particular approach to phonics. Since Gibb publicly proclaims himself to favour 'evidence based teaching' in order to claim legitimacy, it is telling to explore how the limitations of his use of evidence, the generation of moral panics, the political rhetoric and discourse, relates to the deprofessionalisation of teachers.