Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

News articles, interviews, research, events and lots more - ready for your comments.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:18 am

This is a rather strange headline as the thrust of the article is about speech and language needing to be developed in the home:

Pupils unable to read is 'a scandal', says minister

By Hannah Richardson



https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-45009467

Education Secretary Damian Hinds says it is a "scandal" that some children still start school unable to speak in full sentences or read simple words.

Children who start school behind their peers rarely catch up - "the gap just widens", he will say in a speech.

He has pledged to halve the number of pupils starting school behind in early talking and reading skills by 2028.

A group of companies and charities have been brought together to work out how best to support families in England.

Educational researchers have long said that social mobility - or the lack of it - starts at home with what's known as the home learning environment.

The idea is that a home with a lot of books and other early learning materials, plus engaged parents giving their children quality time, talking with them and teaching them how to make letter sounds, for example, provides a good start.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:04 pm

This article is relevant to the topic because it features the state of play in nursery provision in England:

England faces shortage of 11,000 nursery teachers

Children in some areas are five times more likely to have graduate staff in early years than in others, charity reveals


https://www.tes.com/news/england-faces- ... y-teachers
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:55 am

This statement is published at the gov.uk site:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mult ... l-mobility

Multimillion investment in early years education and boost social mobility

Education Secretary sets his vision to support a child's early years development, in his first major speech on social mobility


An investment to better support early years education and child development spearheads a range of initiatives announced today to halve the number of children finishing reception year without the early communication or reading skills they need by 2028.

Latest research shows more than a quarter of four-and-five-year-olds (28 per cent) lacked the early communication and literacy skills expected by the end of reception year. The ‘expected level’ includes, for example, a child being able to express themselves clearly and read simple sentences.

In a speech to the Resolution Foundation, Education Secretary Damian Hinds set out his ambition to halve this number through a range of measures and a new coalition of organisations to look at ways of supporting parents with helping children learn new words and develop their communication skills.

He also unveiled details of a £30 million fund, part of an investment announced in the government’s social mobility action plan, to create more nursery places run by successful schools in disadvantaged areas so more children can access a high-quality early education. This fulfils a government manifesto pledge to help primary schools develop nurseries where they do not currently have the facilities to do so.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:59 am

Linked to the above announcement about Damian Hind's plans, is this information from the National Literacy Trust:

https://literacytrust.org.uk/news/we-jo ... on-skills/

We join government-led coalition to address early years language gap

31 Jul 2018


We are thrilled to announce that we are a founding member of the Department for Education’s new coalition which aims to halve the number of five-year-olds who start school without good early language and communication skills by 2028.

Good early language and communication skills are crucial building blocks for literacy but last year, one-quarter (28%) of five-year-olds in England finished their first year of school lacking the early language and communication skills expected for their age. This is a gap most will never recover from during their school life and one which has a huge impact on social mobility.

We welcome the Government’s commitment to convening a national partnership to transform the way we support children during this critical period in their development. We know from our work in communities like Middlesbrough and Stoke-on-Trent that this approach works; by bringing together local businesses, public sector organisations and charities, we have helped thousands of young children develop the early language and communications skills they need to thrive.

We will help to bring together leading businesses, tech companies, media organisations, charities and academics for a summit in Autumn 2018 to identify the best ways to give parents the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to support their young child’s language development at home. We are thrilled that our corporate partners WHSmith, British Land and KPMG are backing the coalition and will be supporting the summit.

For more information, visit the Department for Education's website.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:14 pm

This observation was made with reference to the National Literacy Trust's involvement with aiming to raise levels of language for pre-schoolers. The person making this observation wrote to colleagues:

I wonder if any of you heard this week’s Radio 4 Appeal. They aim to collect BBC approved funds through this route. It was on behalf of the National Literacy Trust. It was presented by Gabby Roslin.

The gist was:

Mother, Ashley cannot read and nor could her parents before her. So, she does not realise how important it is to have books in the house for her son James.

James is at nursery and has very poor language – he has ‘no words’.

In general the language ability of some children entering school is one and a half years behind their peers. These children struggle with school and this negatively impacts their life chances.

So the answer to this?

If you support the National Literacy Trust they will train a Nursery Nurse who will teach mothers to ‘read’ stories to their children using the pictures in books and toys. The ability to ‘read’ a story to James would have been impossible before for Ashley. But she obtained the help of the NLT and now James’s literacy skills have overtaken those of other children (presumably now he is at school?).

No distinction is made between language and literacy and there is no suggestion that the school might have taught James to read.

The implication is: If you want to change children’s lives support the NTL. £50 will enable a Nursery Nurse to teach parents how to tell stories to their children. This increases their confidence and allows families to escape poverty.


The listener (to the Radio 4 programme) made this further comment:

The NLT appears to be confusing speech and language with literacy/reading.

Improving speech and language in the home environment is obviously topical right now and is fundamental – all of us agree.

However, oral language development although necessary is not sufficient to ensure children learn to read.

The NLT present this simplistic and emotional view that improving oral language in the home is the key to learning to read and to escape poverty.

Misleadingly, there is no mention of the direct teaching of reading in the way the Department for Education has fully promoted and continues to support.


I'm linking this post to the responses to the recent Phonics Debate in Australia. In short, there has been a huge response to the debate and quite an outcry that the debaters on one side (known as the 'negatives') suggested that the answer to literacy is mainly in the home, rather than the consequences of evidence-informed, systematic synthetic phonics teaching. I won't elaborate here but the number of parents and people from dyslexia organisations who went out of their way via Twitter to provide photos to show the extent of the literature in their homes - protesting that their children had been read to extensively and yet still had trouble with reading and writing.

The Phonics Debate and responses:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1044

Of course it makes a huge difference to children if their homes are language and literature-rich - but the teaching of reading through evidence-informed content is still of paramount importance.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:05 am

In response to this topic, I just received the comment below from a retired Educational Psychologist. Coincidentally, this also makes a pertinent contribution to another thread I have started featuring a podcast interview by Professor Maggie Snowling so I have posted the comment there, too, and below you can see the link to this other topic on 'dyslexia'.


My work as an Educational Psychologist in the 1980’s and 90’s was largely with middle class children whose parents were professional and highly literate. Very often the children were articulate too – but they were still struggling to read and write. These children were referred to as ‘dyslexic’ and within-child factors were thought to account for their difficulties. They had to attend extra lessons privately in the Dyslexia Clinics as schools were not addressing the difficulties. Usually their reading, spelling and writing difficulties were not identified by schools until the children were in KS2 – this gave rise to huge distress and pain in the families. During this time in the local authority, we had a whole language approach to the teaching of literacy with the apprenticeship model, paired reading and real books.


This topic features a podcast interview with Professor Maggie Snowling talking about her knowledge and experiences of children with 'dyslexia':

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1081&p=2145#p2145
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1559
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: 'Pupils unable to read is a 'scandal', says minister' BBC News

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:34 pm

Michael Pettavel responds to Damien Hinds initiative for closing the vocabulary gap in Nursery World:

One size doesn’t fit all

19 August 2018 by Michael Pettavel, head teacher, Brougham Street Childcare and Nursery School, Skipton


The Government is making empty policy claims when it should let those in the early years decide how much, and where, money is spent, says Michael Pettavel





https://www.nurseryworld.co.uk/nursery- ... -t-fit-all

Return to “Around the World: News and Events”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest