Teacher Trainees and Phonics

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What the resource is:
The report ‘Teacher Trainees and Phonics' outlines the findings of a small-scale survey that focuses on twenty Initial Teacher Trainer providers, of traditional and non-traditional backgrounds, and their response to the Rose Review (2006).  Specifically the survey attempts to evaluate how effectively ITT providers have responded to the Rose Review.  The survey was conducted by Her Majesty's Inspectors from 2007 to 2008.


The aims of the resource:
The survey aimed to discover if the particular target ITT providers had developed their courses sufficiently in order that trainees were privy to appropriate guidance on the teaching of early reading, including phonics.  The survey also assessed the trainees' actual implementation, in their teaching, of the underlying principals outlined in the Rose Report.


Key findings or focus:
The survey suggests that most of the target ITT providers had reacted positively to the Rose Review.  The courses were generally good and well planned, demonstrating a significant shift towards emphasising phonics in training.  The quality of the training was generally better in HEIs and SCITTs than via employment based courses.  However, many of the providers needed to create thorough means by which to ensure trainees were observed when teaching early reading and systematic phonics.  Providers also had to make certain that the feedback presented to trainees was specific enough regarding the quality of the latter's teaching of phonics.


To add, it appeared that many of the trainees had a sound understanding of early reading and were suitably prepared to teach same.  Indeed, trainees demonstrated their clear understanding in their teaching.  However, trainees were not as practised in the assessment of phonics for individual pupils and were unsure of how to support less confident readers at Key Stage 2.  Unfortunately, only some of the providers supplied appropriate opportunities for trainees to observe good practice in phonics teaching.


The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
The review is detailed and informative.  The reader is reasonably convinced by the findings as, for instance, the number of participants involved appears broad, however the quality of providers included in the survey is limited to those who have been awarded a grade 1 or 2 at recent Ofsted inspections. 

The use of signposting is generally consistent and apparent throughout the report.  The references could be more in depth, however the glossary is helpful.  Overall, the review is systematic in its approach and summarised well at appropriate intervals.


The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
The resource may be best used by primary ITE tutors, particularly when considering how to successfully implement the Rose Review within their courses.  Primary ITE tutors will also note the need to ensure that all their primary trainees see good examples of phonics teaching in schools.  Secondary ITE tutors for English may find the report useful, in order to keep abreast of the broader developments in the curriculum for English. 


The relevance to ITE students - how and why it has importance:
Primary ITE students will wish to consider the Rose Review in depth, however, in addition, they may find it useful to consider the key findings of the report ‘Teacher Trainees and Phonics', which relate to suggested deficiencies in students' knowledge with regards teaching phonics in the classroom.  More ambitious primary trainees may be interested to read the ‘Teacher Trainees and Phonics' report in full, particularly if phonics is an area of specialism for them in their studies.


Reviewed by:

Karen A. Lowing



DfES (2007) Letter and sounds: principles and practice of high quality phonics. DfES, 00282-2007