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Education in the media: 6 December 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Literacy, numeracy, Primary Schools


Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study results that were published yesterday and the Barnardo’s survey about young carers.

Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)

Yesterday, Tuesday 5 December, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results were published. The figures looked at the reading ability of nine and ten-year-olds across 50 countries. England ranked joint eighth out of 50, a significant improvement following reforms to the primary school curriculum including the introduction of phonics.

The news has been widely welcomed in newspapers this morning with stories running in the Guardian, The Times, The Mail and The Sun.

The Times Red Box newsletter said the results show that the effects of phonics teaching are starting to be felt, adding: that “English primary schoolchildren have achieved the highest reading standards for a generation.” The Mail pointed out that the results will come as a surprise to some of those who have previously opposed phonics, including some union representatives.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Thanks to the hard work of teachers across the country, our increased emphasis on phonics and our continued focus on raising education standards, 154,000 more six-year-olds in England are reading better than ever before.

Today’s results show that we are building a Britain fit for the future, where every child is afforded the best start in life because of our education reforms.

Our rise up the global rankings is even more commendable because it has been driven by a rise in the number of low-performing pupils reading well. This demonstrates our determination to ensure this is a country that works for everyone, regardless of background.

Young Carers

Today, Wednesday, 6 December, Barnardo’s called for more support to be given to young people who also act as carers in school.

This was reported by the BBC Online, BBC Breakfast and Schools Week.

Young careers play a vital role in society and that’s why we support schools to identify pupils who are young carers and offer them appropriate support.

We have worked with the Children’s Society and the Carers Trust since 2011 to share good practice and address young carers’ needs. The Carers Trust continues to host many of these materials on its websites and as part of its grant-funded work for the Department for Education.

We have also invested over £3 million in funding Carers Trust and The Children’s Society since 2011 and are encouraging schools to make links to their local young carer support group.

Children and Families Minister Robert Goodwill said:

We recognise the enormous contribution that young carers make and we know that schools play a very important part in identifying pupils who are young carers and offering them appropriate support.

We have worked with the Children’s Society and the Carers Trust since 2011 to share existing tools and good practice, supporting local authorities to work collaboratively with schools to better identify and support young carers and their families.

The joint Carers Trust and Children’s Society Young Carers in Schools Programme is important to help identify young carers among teachers, non-teaching staff and school nurses to ensure that individuals get the support they need and are able to live a full life beyond their caring responsibilities.

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