The head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw has advised Head Teachers that the standard of literacy in primary schools has stagnated. This shock revelation comes after an intensive literacy educational programme that has stalled. Twenty per cent of primary school children still fail to achieve the expected standard in English literacy, the same level as at the start of the programme in 2008.
The critical factor is how such children who have slipped behind in primary school cope in secondary education. The subsequent drain of both the teaching resources, who find it difficult to coach such children in a busy classroom, and these children, who subsequently fall behind in their learning achievement can quickly become a loosing battle. These “lost” children represent a key element in GCSE’s where 33 per cent fail to achieve a grade C in English, and alarmingly, results in 14 per cent of adults who are devoid of an appropriate ability in literacy.
The situation is exacerbated by the modern trend in communications. Social networks, SMS and micro blogging sites have flourished despite the poor literacy. Masked by predictive text, spell check and trendy abbreviations the need for literacy may seem outmoded. But the recent research that revealed around 70 per cent of Twitter communications are mundane emphasises the basic need for adequate literacy. In this way reasoning and expression can be developed rather than abbreviated beyond sensible interpretation.