England's Literacy Levels

The National Literary Trust and Experion have this week released analysis about England’s literacy levels. Bringing together Experion’s expertise around data analysis and the National Literary Trust’s knowledge of the characteristics most closely associated with low literacy, the study has created a literacy vulnerability score for every electoral ward and constituency in England. The study makes interesting reading and identifies the areas with the most acute literacy problems and pinpoints where the greatest level of support is required.

Detailed analysis of the figures show that inner cities and their surrounding areas have the most significant literacy problems, but the data also shows that literacy issues are localised and are not restricted to regions with low income, employment and social deprivation. 86% of all English constituencies contain at least one ward with significant literacy problems.

Readers will be pleased to note that of the 533 constituencies in England, Kenilworth and Southam ranks in 513th place, where 1 is the highest in terms of need. At the regional level, Kenilworth and Southam scores even better in 58th place, out of 59. The analysis is further broken down by wards, which can be viewed on the National Literary Trust’s website.

We all want every child to have the best possible start in life and I am pleased that the Government has committed to making England the best country in Europe for literacy and numeracy. The ability to read is a key building block of society, and one of the most important skills that every child must master. Particular emphasis is now placed on getting the basics right at primary school through phonics. In addition, the national curriculum places greater focus on grammar, spelling and punctuation with a new test for 11 year olds. This will help ensure that children are taught the skills they need to understand our language and to use it properly, creatively and effectively.

A good education can be the single greatest transformer of lives. I come from a family of teachers so I am well aware of the skill and dedication that teaching entails. I also know there are many teachers across the constituency and the country who work long and hard to improve the life chances of our children and young people and I have the utmost admiration for them, in what is often a hugely demanding job.