PRIMARY schools will be required by law to teach children to read using the controversial back-to-basics method known as "synthetic phonics", the Government announced today.
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly said the statutory National Curriculum would be revised to make sure phonics was the "prime" teaching system used in reading lessons.
The Government said headteachers should set "ambitious targets" for the literacy skills children are expected to have by the end of primary school.
Ms Kelly was responding to final recommendations from Jim Rose, a former director at Ofsted who conducted a national review of the way children learn to read in England.
Synthetic phonics involves blending individual letter sounds to form whole words, for example "s-t-r-e-e-t".
The Government's current literacy strategy recommends a mixture of methods, including understanding words from their context.
But while the national literacy strategy represents recommendations which schools can choose to ignore, in future teaching phonics will be a legal requirement.