Literacy: Dudley

Department for Education written question – answered on 4 October 2019.

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Photo of Ian Austin Ian Austin Independent, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase literacy rates of primary school students from lower income households in Dudley.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards – ensuring all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and with understanding.

The Department introduced the light touch phonics screening check for Year 1 pupils in 2012. The check is designed to assess pupils’ ability to decode and read words using phonics. Phonics performance is improving, with 82% of pupils meeting the expected standard this year, compared to 58% when the check was introduced. Mastering phonics, which provides a solid foundation for reading means these pupils will be able to go on to apply these skills in more advanced ways.

In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. The Department has appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hub programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1. St John Bosco English Hub engaged with nine schools in Dudley in the last academic year. It aims to support 85 schools in its local area, which covers Dudley as well as other constituencies.

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