Evidence use

What’s the role of phonics in secondary school?

Writing for Tes, I argue that we need to think carefully about how we use phonics in secondary.

The emphasis on phonics in English primary schools has increased dramatically since 2010, which makes the existing evidence less relevant to pupils who didn’t respond well to phonics teaching.

Even in recent research, older, struggling readers were often receiving systematic phonics teaching for the first time, particularly in studies outside of England. At best, these findings overstate the impact that we might expect.

I think there are some specific points about phonics that are interesting here, but I also think this highlights some wider principles about evidence-informed practice.

I think of this as being akin to the half-life of research. I was first introduced to this idea years ago, based on an interpretation of the evidence about peer tutoring offered by Robbie Coleman and Peter Henderson.