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To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to raise literacy standards amongst children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
This Government has made improving literacy standard a priority, and has reformed the national curriculum with a stronger focus on phonics teaching to ensure that pupils are given the best start with their reading. The introduction of the pupil premium provides schools with additional money to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities. Since its introduction in 2011, the difference in the relative attainment of disadvantaged pupils and their peers has reduced in both primary and secondary phases.
The 2016 Progress in International Reading Study showed that nine year olds in England had achieved their highest ever scores in reading. The improvement is mainly due to the narrowing of the gap for lower attaining pupils and to a significant improvement in boys’ performance.
The development of a new Centre of Excellence for Literacy Teaching and a national network of 35 English hubs across the country will support more children from disadvantaged backgrounds master the basics of reading in primary school.