Some roads are straight and easy to navigate. Other roads are not….

A few years ago the U.K. Government changed the way children were taught and tested. To ensure that ‘children are better equipped for jobs a greater emphasis should be placed on spelling, grammar and punctuation’. As a result marks are now specifically set aside for these factor in exams. Labelled SPaG marking. It was argued that the previous inclusive educational approach was wrong.

The Government approach is to focus on a limited number of correctly spelt words. Let’s produce kids who can spell one word perfectly rather than have kids who can use an extended comprehension.

Where does this leave kids with dyslexia.?

Teaching Groups, Charities, Dyslexia Associations, Parenting Associations and Health Bodies objected. But what do they know….

Dyslexic Kids can apply for extra time in exams. They can apply for a scribe. They can apply to use a reading pen. They can apply to use a keyboard rather than pen. BUT.

They have to demonstrate a level of independence to gain access to the spelling, the grammar or the punctuation marks. If they can’t then the marks are not available to them.

Looking at our son’s case it probably means that when he takes his final exams if he opts for reasonable levels of assistance (as required under Equality Legislation) he will at best be able to access only 33% of the total SPaG marks available.

In my eyes this is wrong. But this is modern U.K. education policy.

Sadly it doesn’t stop there.

The Government decided to change the course content for Computing. Computing underpins everything now. The range of potential computing skills are endless. So many of our kids have passions and untapped skills here. The opportunities are boundless. Let kids tap into this. NO. The Government decided that the course should now focus on coding and structured programming.

Not often can I talk about a subject with anything other than guesswork, but computing I can get to amateur level. This is way beyond the dogmatic ideological buffoonery that underpins Government thinking. Why in God’s name have they picked the most uninspiring and regimented area to focus on. The approach seems to be let’s push out kids who can code rather than develop kids who can utilise the potential computers offer. Yes let kids have a basic grasp of coding then allow those who want to take it further the option to do so. I remember training in 3 programming languages – all becoming obsolete within 5 years.

AND yet again the Government – The Government which is on our side – have penalised kids with dyslexia. Coding and programming is built around specific commands and symbol patterns. Dyslexics struggle with this. So our son is stuck in a weekly computing lesson which focuses on programming. He flounders as he can’t spell the commands. His confidence gets battered. His struggles with spelling are cruelly exposed. His love for computing is fading. The school knows this but cannot change because it’s the set teaching method. Madness.

Sadly I could go on about other subjects and more Government interference. But the point has been made.

Education is so vital that it should not be left in the hands of our self absorbed and incompetent politicians. How about the politicians just focusing on screwing up Brexit and leaving education to the teachers, the parents, the area experts, the kids. In today’s language that probably gets me labelled as a dangerous socialist. A Traitor. Frankly I don’t care. What I care about is the kids going through our educational system. Clearly that’s something our leaders clearly can’t comprehend.

63 thoughts on “Spelling….

  1. Geez. :/
    I can spell well naturally, but notice that NEARLY EVERY OTHER ADULT misspells many words -including common ones.

    I just… This is so obviously flawed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Single Dad. You have your hands full. It sounds as if the system is more interested in the regimented program than in teach the children what they need to know to progress and move into adulthood. Sadly that is also the situation in the US right now. Teach the test, and follow the set guidelines regardless if they are correct or not. It seems real learning is taking a back seat to political gains. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s shit, Gary. I don’t think there is ANYTHING that our Government can comprehend at the moment. They are hell bent on destroying us all anyway. This is just beyond the pale Gary. “Education” has just gone bananas. I am old enough to know what it used to be like, and individual needs were catered for. It is disgusting! As someone else has said – are we allowed to homeschool in our country? I would think not. At least even if it were possible it would be that damned difficult as to be nigh on impossible. You have my sympathy and caring over this Gary. For what it’s worth! I feel SO frustrated for you. X

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I really DO understand that. They are treating everyone uniformly, and there are things I would like to say about that but won’t here. I am just very sad that this is happening for a child. And more particularly for your son. I wish there was something I could do. Write letters? Who to? It is one thing that we could do. But I guess that has already been done.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. It seems that we have gone in the other direction here in Aotearoa New Zealand. When it comes to reading and writing, the emphasis is on comprehension in reading and the ability express ideas when writing. I don’t have any issue with the theory, but from a personal perspective, I have so much difficulty converting phonetically spelled words into recognisable dictionary words that I loose the train of thought presented by the writer. Perhaps is just my rules based autistic brain that gets in the way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d like to start on a positive – your photographs of the Yorkshire countryside (and Captain Chaos!) recently have been wonderful! The lighting and dreamy-like quality in them are admirable. 🙂

    I’d like to continue with the positive vibe, but as we are talking your government, your govt. education system and how they interact with your son (and most of those who don’t fit into the single ‘approved’ student mold) and what the employment prospects for him are under this ‘system’, i am woefully unable to do so.

    So i’ll just end with a looooong heavy Sigh… and the little comfort that i hear your pain, and his! 😦

    (Do what you can to keep his love of computing alive!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Really well said, they have persevered with coding even after being told it will
    Soon be obsolete and as for
    Spelling and grammar
    By the time our children have their first job writing long hand will rarely be used and computer software for spelling and grammar would of come on even further, what our children will need to succeed in the world though is their mental health to be good, their confidence to be high and their dreams to be big and not quashed by the system.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I felt really bad because I haven’t continued coding in home education but having two techy brothers helped as they told me it was not going to stick around and then I read the same stated by some independent government adviser who’s name I forget. Things are moving on so quickly, a lot of business and education specialists are advocating developing and nurturing soft skills such as communication and creativity instead. I follow my son’s interests and do topic based learning using different mediums and community resources such as museums and theatre. Personally I feel that is far more transferable to the real adult world.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not so different here in Canada. I hate the board that ‘manages’ the public school system in Toronto. Everything is a battle and that’s for kids without special needs…but I hear enough about those who need access to the special programs to know that it prevails here, too.


    Liked by 2 people

  8. Is there some type of organization for dyslexia perhaps that you can reach out to for help? Courage, one step at a time.
    I feel the same, my son with Autism gets stuck with the same rules / guidelines as the rest of the kids with non-special needs. How that makes any sense is beyond me!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is awful, just awful. I may be naïve to the system (I mean, they may do it here in the US) but why is the government dictating what and how the kids learn? They aren’t at desk level – I mean they aren’t working with the kids, especially Dyslexic kids, to know their system is failing so many. That is so frustrating. My Catelyn is an awful speller – she sounds out the words and will still write things like “fone” for “phone.” I read it is common for what she experiences, but of course, not much support or understanding. Sorry for what you are going through. So frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is much the same here, sadly. I long for the days when children were taught important concepts, like how to think, reason, how to understand and interpret what they read, and … well, the list is endless. I think the current education system is designed to prepare them for jobs and … AND … to ensure that they do NOT have the skills to become our future leaders, for those are reserved for only the wealthy. There is method to their madness. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yep. The education system is one I can really get worked up about. I try not to. I was the only girl studying O level computers in my year in the 80s. The course then was useless, but I started A level, hopeful. Worse than useless. My brother 15 years younger and computing from a very early age, basic programming at age 5, lol, because we played on my home computer, took A level, and he too dropped out. He’s self -taught now. My son, who is just 18, said when he was still at school he didn’t want to do computers gcse because it didn’t actually teach anything useful. He’s a whizz at all things technical and computer orientated. Because he enjoys it. He learns what he wants when he wants it. It all says to me that kids are better able to work these things out for themselves. I have a friend who self taught himself to program and understand computers by taking them apart, lol, who set up his own gaming company and became very wealthy. It turns out he’s dyslexic.
    He only found out recently when his son was tested so he decided to be tested too. Answered a lot of questions for him. Another friend in her early 20s who is home educated, recently decided she wanted to get into programming and spent a year teaching herself, and now has a job working in the area, which she loves. The government want us to embrace a world of differences whilst at the same time limiting us to a one size fits all mentality. It’s long overdo a major overhaul. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers, other than don’t let yourself or your son be pushed into a box. You’re both doing great by the sounds of it.


  12. I completely, COMPLETELY, understand where you’re coming from here.
    As a college teacher, I see people coming out of high school–and adults who’ve been around awhile–that cannot spell. Biff can spell words better than some of these people. And it’s bloody frightening when a student says she got to graduate high school a year early, but spells “sens” instead of “since.”
    So honestly, I’d like it if Americans would actually crack down MORE on spelling. It’s pretty sad that a software program like Grammarly is becoming so popular, since that way students no longer have to care about their grammar. Grammarly will fix it all for them. (sigh)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a balance. But the balance has to allow room for say dyslexic kids to have a level playing field. In the UK the field is now not level. Trying to force dyslexic kids to memorise spellings is never going to work. Need to find many educational routes to reach targets.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, exactly. Now here in America there’s such fear of leaving a child behind that the curriculum’s been watered down to nearly nothing. Like you said, there’s got to be a middle ground.

        Liked by 1 person

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