Gareth Johnson: We need to re-introduce spelling tests in schools

Date: Fri 19th November 2010

Gareth Johnson, concerned about the lack of spelling tests in some Dartford schools, asked the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb in the House of Commons whether he will encourage the re-introduction of spelling tests in Dartford’s Primary Schools.

The Minister confirmed that the Government was introducing a pupil premium, which will provide extra funding for those schools with the most challenging intakes.

He also confirmed that spelling is key to writing, as is grammar and punctuation and has asked Ofqual to investigate how spelling, punctuation and grammar can be used in mark schemes for GCSEs other than simply English language.

Gareth said: “It is worrying that despite £2.5billion spent on national strategies, a third of primary school pupils have not even reached level 4 for reading and writing.

“I believe that it makes sense to test children on their ability to spell. This forms a logical part of the process of teaching them how to spell words correctly. I fail to see how testing children on their spelling will in any way hurt them and their development. I am pleased that the Schools Minister will encourage schools to re-introduce spelling tests, it was wrong to do away with them. I am confident that this approach will ultimately improve the standard of our children’s spelling.

“No one would suggest that you shouldn’t test children on their ability to add up so why should it be any different with spelling tests”.