In the latest report many reasons have been given including this one reported by the Telegraph,
“Among its recommendations are that schools should be penalised if pupils leave without being able to read or write and that prison leavers should be given more support. It also says that 500,000 ‘forgotten families’ should be helped to prevent youngsters becoming involved in further disorder.”
and fom the Scotsman
“The panel that compiled the report, chaired by Darra Singh, the chief executive of Job Centre Plus and former chief executive of Ealing and Luton councils, also recommends schools should be fined if they do not meet the required standards in teaching children to read and write.”
The challenge is that the schools are controlled by the local education authorities and appear to have to teach phonics exclusively. This policy ignores the research that we need to also develop word recognition or we will never read fluently. But word recognition is a hidden skill and unless you ask a child whether they can visualise words you will not know if they have the skill. This skill is far too important to be left to chance. You need phonics for new words and word recognition for words you have seen more than once or twice. The words our children struggle with in primary school they have seen hundreds of times and without word recognition they will fail.
It is no good fining the schools for doing what they are told to do, it is the education authorities that need to re-assess the whole area of how they label some of our brightest children with learning difficulties when they are very talented visual learners, whose needs are not being met.