Skip to main content

Nick Gibb: Thousands more primary pupils on track to be excellent readers

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Literacy, School tests

Nick Gibb, School Standards Minister

Schools Minister Nick Gibb has written on the results of this year's phonics screening check, which show a continued rise in pupils meeting the expected reading standard.

In 2012, just 50 per cent of Year 1 pupils at William Davies Primary School, in east London, were learning to read well, as judged by the phonics screening check.

This year, however, thanks to the hard work of their teachers, all of William Davies Primary School’s pupils are on their way to becoming skilled and confident readers.

The story of William Davies Primary School is not unique. In fact, it is the story of hundreds of schools across the country.

In 2012, just 45 schools in England had successfully taught all of their pupils to meet the phonics standard. The number has risen to 386 this year. In all, 1138 schools had a pass rate of 95 per cent or more.

One of our priorities in coming into office in 2010 was to improve the way in which children are taught ‎to read. One in three pupils was leaving primary school still struggling to read after seven years of education.

Almost uniquely amongst OECD nations, this country's 16- to 24-year-olds had poorer levels of literacy than their grandparents' generation.

We took immediate action, requiring primary schools to use the tried and tested phonics method of teaching young children to read.

The introduction of the phonics screening check in 2012 revealed that almost half of England’s 6-year-olds were still struggling with the basic building blocks of reading; namely how to sound out and blend the sounds of the alphabet into words.

The check helps schools assess which pupils are reading to the expected standard and – more importantly – those that are not.

The latest figures show that 147,000 more six-year-old children are on track to become fluent readers  compared to 2012  - 81 per cent of pupils passed the phonics screening check this year, compared to 77 per cent last year and 58 per cent in 2012.

In 2012, just 45 schools in England had successfully taught all of their pupils to meet the phonics standard.

Since 2012, many schools have enthusiastically adopted evidence-based systematic synthetic reading programmes.

These schools - like William Davies Primary School - are reaping the rewards of eschewing romantic dogma about the teaching of reading in favour of approaches that have been shown to work time and time again.

The focus of our reforms to the education system over the last six years has been to improve educational opportunities for every child. Over 1.4 million more pupils are now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

This year’s phonics results are further proof of how teachers and pupils have risen to the higher standards set by this Government.

We have come a long way but there is still more to do. This Government is determined that this country should work for everyone – not just the privileged few. But too many parents are denied a place at a good or outstanding school for their child – which is why we need to deliver more good school places.

For too many children, educational success depends not on their talent or hard work, but on where they live or how much money their parents have.

That’s why we propose scrapping the ban on new grammar schools and allow them to open where parents want them – with strict conditions to make sure they improve the education of pupils in every other part of the schools system.

At the same time, we will encourage more universities, independent schools and faith groups to use their expertise to provide good school places. ‎

Together, this will mean parents can choose the right school for their child – one that gives them the best start in life, regardless of their background.

Sharing and comments

Share this page