Current Literacy issues across practice, policy and research


Literacy Today No. 64, September 2010





Scrapping the QCDA

Warwick Mansell explores the long-term effects of the Government’s decision to scrap the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.


So why can’t they read?

Tom Burkard of the Centre for Policy Studies, writes about a new report explaining why structured teaching methods are the most effective way of teaching children to read.



Children’s Book Week circles the globe

Katherine Woodfine, Education Projects Coordinator at Booktrust, writes about the charity’s plans for this year’s Children’s Book Week.


School libraries and literacy

David Streatfield, Sue Shaper and Simon Rae-Scott of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, on the results of a major national survey of school libraries.


Teacher expertise for special educational needs

Gabriel Milland, Head of Press at Policy Exchange, on new evidence that special schools are suffering from a desperate shortage of teachers trained to deal with pupils with special needs.


Skills Based Study and the Learning Divide

Graham Meadows suggests there may be an in-built problem in recent Skills for Life developments.


Gaming for reading

Michelle Treagust, project manager at The Reading Agency, explores the links between video games, reading for pleasure and adult literacy.


National Literacy Trust


NLT Director Jonathan Douglas discusses the National Literacy Trust’s priorities under the new government in light of the forthcoming Spending Review.


Literacy at a local level: the impact of cuts, restructures and Big Society

Emily McCoy, Manager of Partners in Literacy, discusses how to ensure that support for literacy is maintained at a local level.



Document Reviews

We review Against the Odds: Re-engaging young people in education, employment or training from the Audit Commission; Twelve Outstanding Providers of Work-based Learning from Ofsted; and Skills for Sustainable Growth from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.



Literacy Friendly Further Education and Training l So Why Can’t They Read? L Working with the National Standards within the New Zealand Curriculum




We report on the latest research and policy news from Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. This issue we cover teacher unemployment and textbook rental in the US; arguments over the need for standardised tests in Canada; a conference on dyslexia and the implementation of the National Standards in New Zealand; and financial incentives to schools to boost literacy scores in Australia.


Boys versus girls: Why is the gender gap in reading widening?

Dr Christina Clark, Head of Research at the National Literacy Trust, reports on research into the widening gender gap between girls’ and boys’ achievement. The findings findings are indicative of a wider issue related to boys’ motivation and self-esteem with regards to learning in general.


The levels of attainment in literacy and numeracy of 13 to 19- year-olds in England, 1948-2009

Professor Emeritus Greg Brooks and Dr Sammy Rashid of the University of Sheffield report on research into how much attainment in literacy and numeracy has changed in the last sixty years.


The library cure

Our libraries are working hard to support and promote the health and well being of their local communities. Debbie Hicks, Director of Research at the Reading Agency, explains how.


Identifying Reading Difficulties in the Secondary School Years

Dr Susan E Stothard, of the University of York, reports on a new reading comprehension tool for secondary schools.


Research digest

Ongoing research, article abstracts and article titles of research from education and science journals.



Media Watch

A twenty-five per cent cut in the Government’s education budget; the level of 16 to 18-year-olds NEET reaches its highest peak; criticism of the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence; a review of the Early Years Foundation Stage; BBC’s claim over ‘incompetent’ teachers; and native English speakers’ difficulties with grammar.



Questions on the number of functionally illiterate 11-year-olds, and the budget for Every Child a Reader and Every Child a Writer in Westminster; an oral question on dyslexia and the answer to parliamentary questions on the Curriculum for Excellence in the Scottish Parliament; and a debate on prisoner  education in the Welsh Assembly.


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