I am supporting the Read On Get On campaign, which is calling for commitment to a goal of all children reading well at age 11 by 2025.
The campaign recently published a new report, which provided new analysis on the geography of reading disadvantage in England. The report finds that poor children in areas including Yorkshire & the Humber are sadly those most likely to fall behind when it comes to reading.
The report focuses on children on free school meals because they are statistically more likely to be behind in reading than their better-off peers. Furthermore, this group makes up nearly one-fifth of all pupils. Other factors, in particular, levels of early language development, are also critical to whether or not children are behind in reading by 11. It is for this reason that this report focuses on early language development at age five, as well as reading well at 11.
How well poor children are reading varies massively across the country and there is no part of the country that does not need to do more to reach the goal of all children reading well by 11. Many primary schools are achieving very impressive results against all the odds but what happens in schools is only part of the picture.
A significant part of the campaign is also about encouraging parents to read more with their children. Just ten minutes a day can make an enormous difference.
The life chances of our poorest children shouldn’t be determined by their postcode. We all need to work together, from parents, schools and communities through to local authorities and national governments, to change this.
The Read On Get On campaign is working on developing the policy recommendations to government that would improve outcomes for children and that will be published later this year.