Aides may not help

21st January 2000 at 00:00
ADULT volunteers who help with children's reading may be doing nothing to improve literacy standards, a soon-to-be published University of Sunderland study says.

The revelation comes only days after Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett was said to be in favour of recruiting more "teaching assistants" for secondary schools. The Government already plans to attract another 20,000 classroom assstants for primaries by next year.

The Sunderland report is based on a three-year study of a volunteer reading programme in three socially-disadvantaged primaries. Researchers checked children's literacy levels at the end of the six-month project - and then again after three years - and found no difference between classes which had been tutored by 31 trained volunteers and those that had not.

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