MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Welcomes News That Reading Standards Are The ‘Best In A Generation'


North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has welcomed the news that reading standards in England are the best in a generation, according to The International Reading Literacy Study.

In 2010 we announced that all schools would be required to use phonics to teach children to read and since then England has risen to joint 8th in the world for reading standards – improving the reading level of pupils from all backgrounds

The International Reading Literacy Study is carried out every 5 years and monitors the reading ability of 9 and 10-year-olds in 50 countries. Last year's results saw England climb to its highest ranking since the test was introduced in 2001. In the first study England placed third out of 50, in 2006 it fell to 15th before rising to 10th in 2011.  

The improvement in reading standards has been attributed to a push towards phonics as a way to teach children to read, rather than the ‘look and say’ method. The phonics method teaches children individual sounds which can be blended together to form words, which are then used to teach them to read.

When the initiative was announced, along with Phonics Screening Checks to monitor progress, the move was criticised by teaching unions and some academics. However, the latest improvement in reading standards suggests that the new approach is working.

In 2012, the first year of the Phonics Check, 58 per cent of six year-olds reached the pass mark. This year, 81 per cent reached that standard, with 92 per cent reaching that standard by the end of year 2.

According to the Department for Education, 147,000 more six year-olds became fluent readers in 2016 compared with the same period five years ago.

For North Swindon this means that more children are getting the skills they need to excel later in life.

This follows official statistics, released last week, which show 12,803 children in North Swindon are now attending schools rated good or outstanding – an increase of 3,474 since 2010.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: “This is really positive news. Improving literacy is a key priority, which is why I support initiatives such as the Summer Reading Scheme and am a big supporter of our local libraries. I was pleased to welcome the Schools Minister Nick Gibb to Swindon earlier this year and I am very proud of the Government’s forward thinking approach to education, and the success it has achieved so far. I’d also like to thank local schools and teachers for being a crucial part in helping to raise standards. I hope we can build on this and improve literacy standards even further.”

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