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Children in Care: Reading

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what programmes his Department has put in place to provide one-to-one reading tuition for looked-after children. (248870)

Looked-after children will benefit from the Every Child a Reader programme, which was established by the KPMG Every Child a Chance Trust in 2005. From September 2008 this programme is being rolled out by the National Strategies on behalf of Government. By 2010/11 it aims to support the bottom 5 per cent. (approximately 30,000) of children aged five and six, some of whom may be looked after, who are struggling to read. Looked-after children who meet the criteria will also benefit from one-to-one tuition which is being introduced on a national basis and which will draw on the lessons learned from the Making Good Progress pilots.

In order to provide targeted support for looked-after children we have also introduced Personal Education Allowances of £500 per annum for looked-after children who are at risk of not reaching national levels of achievement which can be used to provide a range of educational support to meet their needs. This may include one-to-one tuition out of school to help them with their reading.

Through the Children, Young People and Families Grant programme we are funding the Letterbox Club, a two year pilot programme managed by Booktrust, to work with over 1,500 looked after children and their foster carers across 52 local authorities. As part of the Letterbox Club initiative looked-after children aged seven to 11 in foster families receive a parcel of books and mathematics activities every month for six months to help their carers work with them to improve their literacy and numeracy.