Letters extra: Ignore falling rolls, boost literacy

5th December 2003 at 00:00

David Bell draws attention to the widening achievement gap between children from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers.nbsp;All the evidence is that, to close the achievement gap, it is not sufficient to put money in at secondary school level by which time children's difficulties are
complex and deep seated. Early intervention is by far the most effective and cost efficient measure.

Preventative measures like Reading Recovery, a literacy programme, has been shown by the Government's own research to be especially effective. In the past ten years, it produced amazing results among the most disadvantaged children in Greenwich and Westminster (oh yes, there are very disadvantaged children right under Ministers' noses). But this lifeline to our most vulnerable children was severed during last year's funding crisis.

The myth that small children should be cheaper to educate than big children was exploded long ago. So why not ignore falling rolls and seize the opportunity of spare funds in KS1 to achieve something really worthwhile, like a properly funded early literacy intervention?

Julia Douetil
National Coordinator for Reading Recovery
Institute of Education,
London

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