Blair seeks business cash to aid literacy

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has appealed to private industry to help fund a ten-fold expansion of the Government's summer literacy programme.

Speaking on a visit to Morpeth Secondary School in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, Mr Blair said that #163;1 million from the world of business would be matched with #163;4 million of government money.

Some 1,600 11-year-olds took part in this summer's literacy "camps" in 50 schools across the country. Next year the Government hopes to involve 16,000 pupils in 500 schools.

The scheme has already received a #163;250,000 donation from News International, publisher of The TES and The Times. It is designed to help slow readers in the months before they arrive at secondary school. A series of tests has been devised by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority to measure the scheme's effectiveness.

"The focus upon education is not something that we will continue for one term, one year or one parliament," said Mr Blair. "It's here for good."

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