Reading levels improve amongst some of city’s poorest pupils

Published on 08 July 2015

LEICESTER is making excellent progress in improving reading levels amongst some of the city’s poorest pupils, according to research from Save the Children.

A report called ‘Reading England’s Future: Mapping how well the poorest children read’ singles out west Leicester as one of the top ten parliamentary constituencies nationally for reading improvement amongst children who get free school meals.

The report, published by Save the Children on behalf of the national Read On, Get On campaign, found that there had been a 32-percentage point increase in how many of the poorest 11-year-olds could read at the expected standard.

This report showed that in 2013, 74.4 per cent of the poorest children achieved the expected standard – or above – by the time they went to secondary school.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “This report shows we’re making dramatic improvements in helping to get some of our poorest pupils up to standard – and beyond – when it comes to reading.

“It’s important that we help these children in particular, because we know there is a gap between their levels of achievement and those of other, more well-off pupils. We want to close that gap.

“No child should leave primary school struggling with their reading, which is why we introduced Whatever It Takes in Leicester – a collaboration between schools, unions, the city council and others to do whatever it takes to get children reading.

“I’m delighted that initiatives like this one are clearly paying off. We know there’s more work to be done, but this is a great step in the right direction, introducing more of our children to reading for pleasure and helping them to develop lifelong reading habits.”

Only 12 local authorities in the country have out-performed Leicester’s improvement at key stage 2 over the last five years. Boys have done particularly well, making a 10-percentage point improvement at key stage two over the last five years, compared to a national average of six percentage points.

Cllr Russell added: “What’s also really pleasing is that we know more primary-aged pupils now read at home and enjoy reading more than they did five years ago. Eighty-four per cent of them class themselves as good or very good at reading, which shows how much you can achieve when you build children’s self-confidence in areas like reading.”