Literacy progress has stalled according to Chief Inspector of Schools.


England is being overtaken by other leading nations because progress on literacy has stalled, says chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.

Reading standards have not improved since 2005, he told BBC Two's Newsnight.

Speaking ahead of a speech on Thursday, in which he will call for targets for 11-year-olds to be raised, he said: "Our standards should be higher."

Teaching unions say big improvements have been made in the past two decades.

They have accused Ofsted and the government of "playing fast and loose with international data".

Sir Michael, who took over the chief inspector's role in January, told Newsnight: "Standards in literacy and reading went up between 1995 and 2005.

Perhaps they need to look at the way it is taught compared to other nations then.

So ... level 4 is no longer seen as an average but now as a minimum?

I think it is generally called the "expected" level - which does seem to have changed it's meaning slightly over the years!

Hmmm. So is it the level you 'expect' all children to obtain, or the level you 'expect' the average child to obtain?

See, if it's average, then I have no problem with 1/5 being below level 4, 3/5 being level 4 and 1/5 being level 5+. All children are not the same.

But I don't know. Do you draw a line and say no child must be below this? If so, what happens to those with learning difficulties? Why not just say you can't leave primary school until you obtain this level - keep repeating year 6 until you do? Surely, that's the only way to ensure all children leaving primary school are that level?

It seems to be the expected standard for the majority of pupils, which is similar to the expected target for the "average" child. 

I agree that 20% falling below this level must be about right to allow for differing standards of pupils.

I'm slightly confused about this ... I understand level 4 being the 'expected' grade for year 6 although I know dd's year have individual targets too.

The PISA report (2009) mentioned in the BBC article focuses on the reading skills of 15 year olds so I'm not sure of the relevance to primary school pupils now.  Obviously if they have problems with literacy at that level, Secondary will be more difficult for them, and it would be better to 'get it right' from the start of school than trying remedial measures at high school.