Teachers Who Are Bottom of the Class at Spelling

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH HARRIS

TEACHERS who cannot spell properly were blamed yesterday for a litany of mistakes in pupils' work.

The schools watchdog Ofsted said they fail to correct glaring errors which even their pupils later spot, leaving the children confused about what is correct and lacking in confidence.

Education experts say the problem has spiralled because so many staff members went through the education system at a time when there was undue emphasis on 'trendy' teaching methods which have since been discredited.

Ofsted examined the teaching of English in secondary schools between September 2003 and April 2005. Its inspectors found the teaching of writing had improved and even grammar was ' sometimes well taught in lively starter activities'.

But the report adds: 'It remains the case that spelling is inconsistently treated in many schools, both in teaching and marking.

'Pupils frequently comment that their weaknesses in spelling are overlooked by teachers.' It adds: 'Although such comments often ignore the time spent by teachers in correcting mistakes in pupils' writing, they serve to highlight the lack of a systematic approach to improving pupils' spelling in some schools.' In a review of primary schools over the same period, the inspectors said more needed to be done to 'improve the quality of pupils' handwriting and presentation'.

They add: 'This is an aspect of writing that has been neglected by some schools in their current efforts to improve standards overall.'

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said it was essential that teachers who are 'cavalier' about spelling are brought up to scratch. …