Raise literacy target in primary schools, says Ofsted chief
15 Mar 2012
The official literacy target in primary schools should be raised, according to the chief inspector of schools, who warns that the current benchmark is too low to ensure success at GCSE.
At present children are expected to reach level four in tests at the end of primary school.
In English this means they are "active" readers who are capable of visualising the meaning of a text. They should also be able to write extended sentences and use commas.
Hundreds of primaries are failing to reach the existing target, and those that have been underperforming for years face a change of management.
Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said today that schools should be more ambitious:
There can be no more important subject than English. It is at the heart of our culture and literacy skills are crucial to pupils' learning for all subjects.
Yet too many pupils fall behind in their literacy early on. In most cases, if they can't read securely at seven they struggle to catch up as they progress through their school careers.
As a result, too many young adults lack the functional skills to make their way in the modern world. We are no longer a leading country in terms of our literacy performance - others are doing better.
Offering enhanced professional development in phonics teaching for those in education jobs is high up the agenda, while taking more careful measures to track the literacy progress of pupils is also something the watchdog is encouraging.
Schools are now also being urged to inform parents of the reading age of their child with details about the expected levels laid out in the National Curriculum.
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