MPs' alarmist reading report

22nd April 2005 at 01:00
MPs are alarmed by the gap in reading achievement between schools with similar intakes ("Call for literacy strategy rethink", TES, April 8).

This is a real concern, but why look to Clackmannanshire for a solution? There is more up-to-date and reliable evidence. Ofsted's recent study of paired high and low scoring schools with similar intakes shows the importance of a cohesive staff, informed leadership, high expectations and close monitoring.

The study also shows phonics teaching is one vital aid to word identification, but not the royal road. This is hardly surprising, given our spelling system, where the letter "a" has different values in such common words as "cat", "car", "call" and "cake".

England's 10-year-olds were placed third of 35 countries in a recent international reading comparison but the study also showed they like reading less than they did six years ago. We should ask ourselves why.

It is important to help lower-achieving schools to emulate those doing better but we should do so in a way that is measured and informed, not as a panic reaction to an alarmist report.

Dr Eve Bearne President, United Kingdom Literacy Association Faculty of Education University of Cambridge

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today