To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children under seven years of age have not reached a satisfactory standard of reading; and what is his estimate of the numbers who would benefit from a child-centred recovery scheme.
Pupil's reading abilities are tested under the national curriculum at the end of key stage I when most pupils are aged seven. The 1991 national tests revealed that 28 per cent. of seven-year-olds had not yet reached level 2 in reading, the target set for typical seven-year-olds.It is for individual schools to decide how to tackle pupils' reading needs. However, we are undertaking a national trial of the reading recovery programme to be conducted in some 200 inner-city schools in 21 local authorities, and focusing on children who, at the age of six, are experiencing difficulty in learning to read and write. About £10 million is planned to be supported with specific grant under the grants for education support and training programme over the three years 1992–93 to 1994–95 for this and other reading initiatives for inner-city schools.