A new Ofsted report examining English teaching has found that while in many schools English teaching is effective and pupils make good progress, standards in English are not high enough and, since 2008, there has been no overall improvement in primary pupils’ learning.
Moving English forward is based on evidence from visits to more than 250 schools over the last three years. It emphasises that strong leadership is the key to good literacy in school. This means investing in and leading the professional development of staff in the systematic teaching of phonics; carefully tracking every pupil’s progress in literacy, especially at transition between the Key Stages; and structured intervention when pupils start to fall behind.
From September, Ofsted will prioritise for inspection schools with the lowest achievement levels in literacy. It will also reinforce and further embed its present inspection practice of hearing children read.
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, issued a national challenge to drive up stalled standards of literacy and English. “Good leadership is the key to good literacy in schools. Above all, this means being passionate about high standards of literacy for every single pupil, and creating a no-excuses culture both for pupils and for staff.”
“There can be no more important subject than English. It is at the heart of our culture and literacy skills are crucial to pupils’ learning for all subjects. Yet too many pupils fall behind in their literacy early on. In most cases, if they can’t read securely at seven they struggle to catch up as they progress through their school careers. As a result, too many young adults lack the functional skills to make their way in the modern world.”