The Government's Spelling Mistake - Test Blunders and Budget Cuts

Embarrassment for the DfE this week as the key stage 1 spelling, grammar and punctuation test had to be canceled after it was leaked online, prompting ridicule and indignation from teachers. The test has already been criticised by headteachers who believe it should be scrapped, and this latest blunder is a further blow to schools’ confidence in the assessment.

A recent study on the phonics teaching method popular in primary schools shows that it boosts results for low-performing readers in their early years but ultimately produces no long-term benefits. Phonics has long been championed by the government as the final word in child literacy, and it is unclear whether or not these new figures will prompt them to re-evaluate the method's efficacy.

The Times Educational Supplement reports that spending on schools has fallen to the lowest level in real terms since the 1970s, and the new national funding formula aimed at addressing schools’ budgetary concerns is predicted to lead to cuts of up to 15% for some schools.

Headteachers opposed to the recent government "white paper" outlining plans for the academisation of all British schools have now begun to draft their own white paper, one which they believe tackles the real, day-to-day problems in schools that have been overlooked by the government in its rush to change education at a structural level.

Finally, the debate over academies continues with new statistics suggesting that council-run schools are outperforming academies; the government has debated the study's findings, and Schoolsweek offers a breakdown of the figures involved. What remains evident, however, is that academies do not have the clear lead over local authority schools that the DfE's enthusiasm would imply.

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