Working for improvement but no quick fix

23rd November 2012 at 00:00

In "Verdict on trainees spells trouble for literacy goal" (2 November), it was disappointing to read that union leader Philip Dixon suggests the answer is to "challenge some of the students more". One of the good features identified in the report on the South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education was "the wide variety of challenging and stimulating learning experiences" provided by the centre. The Estyn report acknowledged that the prospects for improvement at the centre are good. Nonetheless we do need to improve trainees' literacy skills and have in place a robust plan to do so.

Debate around how to raise literacy standards is controversial. And we need to ask uncomfortable questions. Fundamentally, what are the underlying reasons for significant minorities in education and society at large continuing to face difficulties in acquiring acceptable levels of literacy (and numeracy)?

Estyn identifies challenges in raising literacy standards across all sectors in education. But there is no quick fix, as our inspection report of 1852 illustrated: "Students' penmanship is imperfect and contains many mistakes in spelling. Many of the Welsh students also read English very imperfectly". However, the inspector significantly added: "The blame of this is not to be visited, altogether, on the college." We all need to engage in a purposeful debate about how to raise literacy standards.

Dr Russell Grigg, Head of the South West Wales Centre of Teacher Education.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now