Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Getting the 3Rs right

The latest primary school test results, showing one point improvements in all subjects are not only good news for the government, but evidence that some top down pressure is needed to achieve improvements. Labour has finally met its ambitious targets set in the first term. The literacy and numeracy strategies went through a fallow period when ministers downgraded their status within an all-singing, all-dancing National Primary Strategy in Labour's second term. There was little sense that learning to read, write and add up should be the first challenge of primary teachers, and the momentum of Labour's early years and the shock of national testing was lost. Both Ruth Kelly and Alan Johnson, with Andrew Adonis as the minister in the driving seat, deserve credit for recognising the need to change gear. Today's results are the first evidence that their new sense of mission is working. With phonics now central to the teaching of reading and a renewed emphasis on basic maths, there should be more good news to come.

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