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Children: Literacy

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made under the Every Child a Writer programme; and if he will make a statement. (247395)

Improving standards of children's writing is a major priority for this Government, and will be vital in ensuring we reach our Public Service Agreement targets in 2011 for 78 per cent. of children to be reaching the expected level in English and maths.

Since September 2008 we have been piloting Every Child a Writer, a commitment from our Children's Plan, with funding of £25 million over three years. This programme aims to improve children's writing through leading teacher support for class teachers and intensive one-to-one tuition in the areas of writing children find hardest to master. Every Child a Writer is being piloted in nine local authorities and is due to scale up to reach all local authorities by 2010/11. From next year a further 60 local authorities will enter the programme.

In September we also launched new materials called Support for Writing for teaching children to write across Key Stages 1 and 2. This guidance and exemplification is available online through the Primary Framework, and is based on effective teaching strategies in the areas we know children find hardest about writing at the moment. The materials focus on ensuring children make good progress in their writing through outlining incremental small steps in learning within the year and specific classroom examples of how teachers might chose to approach each step.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he plans to publish an evaluation of the National Year of Reading. (247397)

The 2008 National Year of Reading has been led on behalf of the Department by the National Literacy Trust, who will publish an evaluation in the spring 2009.