Monday, 3 September 2007
Labour wants youngsters to be kept on until 18 if they don't get their GCSEs. The Tories want them kept in primary school if they miss out on their SATs (or, at least, in a summer school). But the real challenge with the 3Rs is much younger. The most important change this term is the introduction of synthetic phonics across primaries. Gordon Brown wants that backed up with remedial teaching of six and seven year-olds who fall behind. There's nothing wrong in principle with what the Americans call 'no social promotion' - keeping youngsters back until they get key tests - but it would be much better for all concerned if we got it right at seven, rather than waiting until eleven or sixteen.