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Volume 497: debated on Monday 12 October 2009

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent estimate he has made of rates of illiteracy amongst children of primary school age. (292205)

It is not appropriate to use the term ‘illiterate’ to describe primary school pupils who are still learning. Primary school standards have never been higher. In 2009 92 per cent. of 11-year-olds achieved level 3 or above in reading, and 94 per cent. in writing. This means they can read a range of texts accurately and independently and their writing is organised, legible and clear. Many of those working below test level at age 11 will have a range of learning difficulties. We have proven, successful programmes like Every Child a Reader and Every Child a Writer in place to support those who are struggling.