What the report omitted to say

10th May 1996 at 01:00
A draft of OFSTED's literacy report was shown to the local authorities involved and they complain that key changes were made in the final report. The following passages have been deleted from the final version: "The evidence from inspection and the results of the tests identify much that is positive about the teaching of reading in these inner-London schools."

"A significantly high proportion of the pupils in the 45 schools had special educational needs, or spoke English as an additional language, or came from deprived backgrounds."

"Weaknesses do not occur because the teachers are less well qualified or more inept than their colleagues elsewhere. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that teaching reading in many of these schools is a particularly difficult task for which the teachers are not always well prepared."

"Overwhelmingly, the teachers involved in this survey present themselves as pragmatic, non-doctrinaire people who want to have at their disposal the highest possible repertoire of skills and knowledge about teaching reading.

"It is a matter of great concern that they often lack such skills, feel let down by their initial training and do not have access to systematic staff development in this important area."

The following passages, say the LEAs, have been "given a negative spin": "The quality of teaching of reading was satisfactory or better in approximately two-thirds of the lessons observed in Year 2" now reads "in just one-third of these the quality of teaching was unsatisfactory or poor".

"The management and co-ordination of reading was fully effective in a third of schools" now reads "the leadership, management and co-ordination of reading were generally effective in only a third of schools".

"The teaching of reading was well organised in three out of five of the classes observed in Year 2" now reads "weaknesses in classroom management and organisation affected the teaching of reading in two out of five classes in Year 2".

"It was apparent from the evidence provided by the three local education authorities involved in this survey that all were giving high priority to improving the teaching of reading in their schools" now reads "were giving high priority to in-service training for the teaching of reading".

"Each of the authorities supported reading in a variety of ways and employed strategies designed to focus attention on the key role that reading plays in primary education" now reads "while each LEA supported reading through a range of strategies, the lack of focus, as some schools saw it, of these strategies often reduced their effectiveness".

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