Primary School Literacy Standards Should Be Higher, Warns Ofsted Inspector

March 24, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Ofsted has warned that pupils in England are falling behind other countries and that the reading standards in primary schools should be higher.

The chief schools inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has admitted that literacy progress has stalled and that standards have not improved for seven years.

The examiner has cautioned that one in five 11-year-olds do not make the grade, which equates to around 100,000 pupils not reaching the standard expected at the end of primary school each year. And furthermore, those learners who are making the grade are still not guaranteed to achieve a good GCSE grade in English.

The comments have been criticised by teaching unions who dispute the claims. They say that big improvements have been made over the past 20 years and that the government is merely putting a spin on international data.

Sir Michael told BBC Newsnight that literacy and reading standards rose between 1995 and 2005 but have since stalled; and that England is being overtaken by other leading nations. In a speech, he said that the comparison with international counterparts showed a "worrying picture."

In 2009 the UK ranked in 23rd place in a global assessment of literacy and countries that are reportedly improving faster than England include Norway, Japan, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Ofsted advises that the secret to boosting children's reading and writing abilities and therefore overall academic performance, is to nip errors in the bud early on and get things right when children are young. What is more, the present target for 11-year-olds is also coming under fire as whether or not it is challenging enough.

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