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Children: Basic Skills

Question for Department for Education

UIN 152709, tabled on 12 June 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taken to improve the (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills of children in England.

Answered on

20 June 2018

The Department has reformed the National Curriculum, to ensure pupils gain a firm foundation in literacy and mathematics, benchmarked against expectations in high performing jurisdictions.

The Department has already seen that literacy and numeracy have improved since 2010. 81% of pupils met the expected standard in the Phonics Screening Check in 2017 up from 58% in 2012. The results of the 2016 Pupils in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) saw England’s nine year old pupils achieving their highest average score since PIRLS began in 2001. These are the first pupils to take part in the PIRLS study since the Government’s education reforms in 2010. In addition, 61% of students reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics at Key Stage 2 in 2017, an increase from 53% in 2016.

To improve standards further, the Department is creating a national network of 35 English Hubs, and a Centre of Excellence for Literacy Teaching, backed by a £26.3 million investment. The hubs will focus on raising standards and sharing effective practice in early language and literacy in reception year and Key Stage 1. We have also established a network of 35 Maths Hubs across the country to lead transformational change in maths teaching from primary to age 18. They are delivering the £74 million Teaching for Mastery Programme which emphasises whole class teaching that builds mathematical knowledge systematically and in depth. Teaching for Mastery will reach over 11,000 primary and secondary schools by 2023.