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Literacy pledges

The unofficial general election campaign stepped up a gear this week, with the three main parties revealing how they plan to raise educational performance beyond the millennium - and how this will be funded, report TES writers.

Both the Conservative government and the Liberal Democrats have developed policies to improve literacy.Here are the main points:

Conservatives:

* Twelve new literacy centres to work with primary schools on reading and writing; * Proposed new national curriculum for teacher training, stressing basic skills. Teachers will have to be able to teach reading, writing, grammar and punctuation; * The Basic Skills Agency will identify new approaches to improve boys' literacy at secondary school; * New helpline for parents who want to improve their children's performance; * A series of conferences to be held on basic skills to "seek greater coherence and value for money".

Liberal Democrats:

* Scrap nursery voucher scheme and improve early years education as part of Pounds 2 billion investment in education; * Increase resources for primary schools and cut class sizes; * Provide more books and equipment and invest in more information technology; * More support for pupils with special needs; * Encourage parents to help children with reading and writing.

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