Schools: Ofsted Report

House of Lords written question – answered on 15th January 2014.

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Photo of Lord Quirk Lord Quirk Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, with reference to the 2012–13 Ofsted Report on schools, whether they accept as adequate the recommendations for “raising standards in English” (page 19), or whether they intend to take steps to ensure that attention is explicitly paid to vocabulary development and enrichment.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

We recognise that standards in English need to be raised and have reformed the English national curriculum so that it matches the best worldwide.

We accept that the teaching of writing is important and all pupils are expected to develop and progress their competence in writing including planning, revising and evaluating their work. Writing also depends on fluent and legible handwriting and the new curriculum requires that pupils are given sufficient time to learn how to form letters correctly, confidently and with ease.

The new English curriculum emphasises the importance of teaching vocabulary throughout the key stages and we have added a separate section on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation for Years 1 to 6. A new grammar, punctuation and spelling test was introduced in 2013 at key stage 2.

Reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information is one of the overarching aims of the new English curriculum and all pupils are encouraged to establish a life-long love of reading.

We recognise that a high-quality education in English will help pupils in their lives, now and in the future. The new English curriculum will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so they can communicate to a range of audiences and for different purposes and contexts. Through reading and the study of poetry, prose and drama pupils will have an opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally and socially.

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