Anti-reading test campaign calls
Teachers have called for a campaign against the Government's new reading test, including a possible boycott, as it warned pupils will be labelled as failures.
Delegates at the NUT's annual conference in Torquay passed a resolution arguing that the mandatory testing of phonics is "unnecessary and inappropriate".
The union argued that Government's policy of promoting phonics will send a message to schools and parents that other aspects of reading are less important.
It called for concerns to be raised with ministers about the test "at every opportunity" and for the union's executive to prepare a campaign, including a boycott, if the test is used towards league tables in the future.
Ministers announced plans for the reading test last year amid fears children with poor reading skills were slipping through the net
The test, which is taken by pupils at the end of Year 1, the first year of compulsory schooling, is based on phonics, a system which focuses on sounds rather than recognising whole words, and has been promoted by the Government as the best way to boost reading standards.
Pupils are asked to sound out or decode a series of words, some of which are made up, to test their reading skills.
Speaking during the debate, John Holmes, of the NUT's executive, said: "This Year 1 phonics check is just one more example which does absolutely nothing to inform or to raise reading standards. Indeed, the pilots have shown that it will label two thirds of children as failures, at the age of five or six."
Teachers know how well children can read, how they are progressing and the best ways of helping them. Mr Holmes said.
He said that the test could become as high-stakes as national curriculum tests, known as SATS, which are taken by pupils at the end of primary school.