Department for Education written question – answered on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bird Lord Bird Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase literacy levels in England

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government is committed to continuing to raise literacy standards, ensuring all children can read fluently and with understanding. The new national curriculum, introduced in 2014, has increased the focus on reading in the primary curriculum and has a focus on phonics. There is a substantial body of evidence that shows that systematic phonics is a highly effective method for teaching early reading.

The government 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 in 2019, compared to 58% when the check was introduced.

Building on this success, in 2018 the department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. We have appointed 34 primary schools across England as English Hubs. The English Hubs Programme is supporting nearly 3000 schools in 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.

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