It’s been announced that there will be a phonics test for all 6-yr-olds from next summer http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14930193 to establish how well they can read the sounds of letters. It’s another futile attempt to improve reading standards. Its aim is to ensure that all primary schools start the teaching of reading with phonics, but they already do anyway. And phonics provides only the easiest part of learning to read English. It can teach only the main sounds of English letters with regular spellings like ‘a cat sat’ or ‘on spot hop’. in ‘on - only, once, other, woman, women, who’ – www.englishspellingproblems.co.uk/html/sight_words In languages which don’t tolerate such abuse of the alphabetic principle, children learn to read easily, there is less need for constant monitoring of progress, and much less need for remedial help too.