Skip to main content

Basic Skills: Primary Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 13005, tabled on 5 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase numeracy and literacy rates of primary school students from lower income households in Dorset.

Answered on

12 February 2020

The Government is committed to continuing to raise literacy and numeracy standards to ensure that all children, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can read fluently and have knowledge of the fundamentals of mathematics.

To support literacy standards, the Department introduced the light touch phonics screening check for Year 1 pupils in 2012. Since then, performance has improved, with 82% of pupils meeting the expected standard in 2019, compared to 58% when the check was introduced. In 2018, the Department launched a £26.3 million English Hubs Programme. The programme is led by 34 primary schools across England and supports nearly 3000 schools across England to improve their teaching of reading through systematic synthetic phonics, early language development, and reading for pleasure. The English Hubs are focused on improving educational outcomes for the most disadvantaged pupils in Reception and Year 1. Broadclyst Community Primary School is working closely with nine schools across the Dorset area, and aims to support up to 85 schools across Dorset, West Somerset and Devon.

To support mathematics standards, the Department funds a network of 37 Maths Hubs which provide school-based continuous improvement in mathematics education for all pupils from Reception year through to post-16 study in England. The Department is also investing in the £76 million Teaching for Mastery programme, which is based on teaching methods in the highest performing jurisdictions and aims to reach 11,000 schools from 2016 to 2022. This includes a ‘mastery readiness’ programme to support schools with the greatest need. We have seen good progress in mathematics – in 2019, 79% of pupils across all schools in England met the expected standard at Key Stage 2 in maths. This is an increase of 9% since new tests were introduced in 2016 and includes a 3% rise in the latest results. Maths Hubs engaged with 84 schools in the Poole and Dorset local authorities in the last academic year (2018-19), and they aim to support another 99 in the current academic year (2019-20).