The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education has today raised concerns that the coalition Government’s focus on phonics will contribute to a decline in literacy standards.
Supported by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the APPG for Education has published its report on ‘Overcoming the Barriers to Literacy’.
The report is based on evidence from 584 teachers and educational stakeholders including teachers’ unions, literacy associations, publishers and outreach organisations.
The report emphasises that literacy policy should focus on instilling a love of reading in order to increase children’s motivation, wellbeing and attainment. The APPG also found that literacy policy should not be the responsibility of the Department for Education alone. Social factors – such as parental involvement – and health issues – such as eye care – are significant contributors to children’s reading success.
The APPG recommends that to raise literacy standards, a well-rounded reading culture needs to be encouraged. To achieve this, matched phonics funding should be re-directed so that schools are free to adopt the resources and programmes their pupils need (including the highly effective and valued one-to-one reading tuition). In addition, there needs to be: more in-depth teacher training; improved support for the transition between primary and secondary school; greater support for literacy difficulties at secondary schools; acknowledging the growing value of digital literacy, especially in motivating boys to read; and a community approach to literacy (including promoting libraries and parental involvement).