A £10 million scheme has today been launched to boost literacy for 10,000 pupils in primary schools across the region.
The initiative, run by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Northern Rock Foundation, will test the most effective ways of helping pupils learn to read and write well over a five-year period. Although the project is open to all 880 primary schools in the North East, it is said it will focus mainly on children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A specially assigned network of local advocates will work with schools to identify specific issues; this will determine the schools’ level of involvement in the programme and the type of training and information the advocates will provide in terms of evidence-based programmes.
Sir Kevan Collins, chief executive of the EEF, said: “We know that good literacy is absolutely fundamental to success in secondary school and later in life, but your chance of leaving primary school without decent reading and writing skills is significantly increased if you come from a poor home. We hope the campaign will leave a lasting legacy of evidence-based programmes and effective practice in the region, building on the good work already under way in schools.”
Dame Jackie Fisher, trustee of Northern Rock Foundation, said: “All the evidence shows that children who do not read well by age 11 have significantly less chance of achieving good GCSEs and of moving into work. We hope this programme will help to break a cycle of poor literacy among disadvantaged children in the North East, and improve the lives and employability of young people across our region.”