It appears literacy rates among primary school children in the UK aren’t great… and?

Photo by mararie.

I’m not saying (with the above image) that the literacy rates for cats have gone… or have they? With the amount of fiddling with the UK’s national curriculum in the past thirty years, who’s to say what the reading age of this cat may well be? ‘Cause if Sir Michael Wilshaw’s mathematical abilities are anything to go by, we do not have a hope in hell of having any accurate literacy rates from Ofsted for cats.

Appearing on the Guardian’s website today, there’s an interesting article that says that Sir Michael wants to raise the literacy level that primary school leavers should be expected to obtain. And it’s all sounding a bit ridiculous.

Basing it off of a “Level 4” being the minimum level that year six pupils should be achieving at the end of key stage two and saying that it isn’t enough, but saying that literacy/reading ages have not improved since 2005 – Sir Michael’s solution is to raise the standard that pupils should be aiming for. I’m not sure how that’s meant to work to solve the problem.

Let’s consider that I reached level 4 for literacy when I was in year six, back in May 1997… but rates have become worse since 2005 – I think we need to look at something other than increasing a dubious testing and scoring standard.

Many of the commenters on the Guardian article manage to hit the nail on the head – political interference in our education system has increased a great deal in the past thirty years. And I would go on to say that the interference has intensified since Labour won the 1997 general election.

The possibility of a correlation between slipping achievements in schools (and that’s if the metrics Ofsted and the government use can be trusted (they probably can’t be)) and the intensity of government interference in the nation’s education systems cannot be ignored. With all the changes that keep happening to the system, the standards children and teenagers are meant to meet keep shifting.

The UK’s education system is like the unfairest football match ever known, with the goals constantly being moved all over the pitch, without any warning or thorough justification. No child has a chance of scoring a goal, but every chance of falling foul of a penalty.

Want to improve literacy rates among children? Make sure you’ve got primary school teachers in place who enjoy teacing language, culture, history, science, arts and maths to primary school kids. And you need to yank out the government and White Hall elements who keep shifting the goals, which would be called cheating if this were an actual football match.


One thought on “It appears literacy rates among primary school children in the UK aren’t great… and?

  1. I agree, a somewhat similar situation has been happening in my area my entire life, instead of focusing on actual education and learning; they waste time on adjusting tests/standards/making up new oppressive rules against students/teachers/and other things that have almost nothing to do with education/learning/subjects/et cetera. 😦

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