UK Education – Liberals Pledge to Eliminate Child Illiteracy

The general election in the UK is looming and unusually education has had rather a back seat when it comes to election promises so far, at least from the major parties.  Now the liberals are pushing education as one of their central ideas with a pledge to get rid of child illiteracy in the UK by 2025 if they manage to remain in power.

The commitment would be funded with extra money targeted for the poorer pre-school children with a promise to also ring fence the current education budget which would be kept protected.  They claim that the coalition had already cut illiteracy levels in England, however there was much more to do.  Figures suggest that more than 20% of 11 year old leave their primary schools without a basic level of reading skills.   There are some useful literacy guides available on the UK national broadcaster channel the BBC – you can access these from outside  the UK by using this guide.

The proposal suggest that the provision should be assessed by using the Key Stage 2 exams that children take in the final year of their primary education.   The idea is that there would be an extra 116 million distributed to the nursery schools and childminders specifically at the poorer children.   This would amount to a tripling of funding that would be given for the education needs of underprivileged children.  They claim to be the only major party who is prioritising education spending as part of their manifesto.

This has long been seen as a huge area of concern, with children leaving primary schools without a decent level of literacy.  This of course significantly effects their prospects further down the education system and perpetuate the under achievement of many under privileged children.   Without these very basic levels of literacy, further education has a very minimal impact and many children feel frustrated and effectively opt out of education and hugely decrease their potential.

The levels are much higher with poorer children for a variety of reasons, and it is essential that extra money is made available to target these children.  Experts point out that it is much cheaper to make an intervention at this age than to deal with the anti social problems that are caused later in life.

Helen Cartwright

Technical Citation: here.