Quarkside

17/12/2010

Literacy levels damned by Gove

Filed under: Education,Outcomes,People — lenand @ 10:16 am
Tags: , , , ,

Mapping boys’ reading ability by the BBC is eye watering.  It’s all credible evidence that induced Michael Gove, Minister for Education,  to say that “Eleven-year-old illiteracy ‘unacceptable’ “.  There’s more evidence on the impact of poor language after leaving school. Literacy has been one of Rotary’s key projects for many years both at the international level and have published the following data:

  • There is a significant link between poor literacy and anti-social behaviour.
  • Nearly a third of 10 year olds with anti-social behaviour have a specific reading difficulty.
  • These children are more likely to be living in poverty – with 38% eligible for Free School Meals compared to 18% of other children.
  • Many are more likely to be learning English as a second language – 15% as compared to 10%.
  • Poverty is the most influential factor compared to either ethnicity or second language.
  • Within the secondary school, pupils still below the desired minimum reading level at age 14 (a reading age of about 12 years) are 5 times more likely to be excluded from school.
  • They are 4 times more likely to truant.
  • Sixteen year olds with poor reading skills are 4 times more likely not to be entered for any public examination.
  • Poor readers as adults are less likely to be in employment and, where employed, are likely to be in low paid or manual work.
  • 48% of the prison population read poorly.

This is a serious social problem.  It’s time to consider the unthinkable.  Stop trying to kid ourselves that all children are equal.  Yes they need additional teaching, but it has to be at the cost of removing other aspects of schooling.  They need to follow a modified curriculum at infant and primary level.  Literacy first and foremost – not just an hour.

Quarkside previously reported in “UK in 3rd Division for Education”  how Singapore tackled the problem in the 1980s.  Where children were struggling with English, they removed the supplementary subjects until they were more competent.  As a result they have a globally competitive economy.  In the 1920s, school leavers at age 14 were far more accomplished at both reading and writing.  There has not been an evolutionary (in the Darwinian sense) change in the abilities of children.  They are capable of learning their mother tongue.  There are millions more people in India and China learning English more competently than our native speakers.

Let’s re-think, re-train and repair the damage to society.

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