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Illiteracy And Innumeracy

Volume 115: debated on Tuesday 28 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what further plans the Government have to tackle the problem of illiteracy and innumeracy amongst young people; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend announced his plans for establishing a national foundation curriculum in a statement on 7 April to the Education, Science and Arts Select Committee. Copies of that statement are in the Library. Our aim is to raise standards in schools by ensuring that all pupils receive an education which equips them with essential skills for adult life, and also encourages them to develop their full potential across a range of subjects. At the adult level, my right hon. Friend looks to the adult literacy and basic skills unit to act as a central focus to assist LEAs and voluntary bodies in establishing new basic skills provision and developing existing provision in order to suit the needs of their local communities. He gives high priority to the funding of the unit, and grant has risen four-fold from £470,000 in 1980–81 to an allocation of over £2,050,000 in 1987–88.