The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children can read fluently and with understanding. Building on the success of our phonics partnerships and phonics roadshows programmes, in 2018 the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. The Department has appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. Hub schools are taking a leading role in improving the teaching of early reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure.
There is a substantial body of evidence that shows that systematic phonics is the most effective method for teaching early reading. Reflecting this, the Department introduced the light touch phonics screening check for year 1 pupils in 2012. Phonics performance is improving: in 2018, there were 163,000 more six-year-olds on track to become fluent readers compared to 2012. This represented 82% of pupils meeting the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced in 2012.
The Department have appointed Myland Community Primary school as an English Hub in Colchester, and Elmhurst Primary School in Newham. Both of these hubs will work with schools in Essex to improve the teaching of early reading.
In 2016, new tests and frameworks for teacher assessment were brought in at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, following the introduction of a new, more challenging National Curriculum that set higher expected standards for reading, writing and mathematics. These changes mean that the expected standard from 2016 is higher and not comparable with the expected levels used in previous years' statistics. It is not possible to make direct comparisons between the results before and after the changes in 2016.
The number and percentage of state-funded pupils, at the end of Key Stage 1, 2 and 4, who did not achieve the expected level of literacy in Witham, Essex and England are in the attached tables. Figures relate to academic years 2013/14 to 2017/18. The Department does not produce statistics for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, or the UK as a whole, and therefore these figures relate to England only.
 There is not a definitive definition of ‘expected level of literacy’ for each key stage. Figures have been provided for achievement in English, or English subjects, in the headline or additional measures that were used for that key stage, in each academic year.