We Must Not Cut Literacy Teaching

Article excerpt

IT WAS heartening to read about Kostyantin Zhevago's generous benefaction to St Mary's Primary and the enthusiastic response of volunteers to your reading campaign.

As if the worrying statistics on reading standards weren't enough, however, I am still shocked at the denial of funding to existing, highly successful one-to-one initiatives, notably the excellent Reading Recovery programme. Reading Recovery teachers are classroom teachers who are trained intensively in-post to deliver a 20-week specialist programme to those pupils in most need, early in their school career.

The current reality is that most schools, having just scraped the budget together for a fully trained RR teacher last year, will no doubt have recalled that teacher to a mainstream class to preserve their highly stretched staff team. If the school is inventive, it may have a system of reading partners from City firms, or perhaps have found a way to finance the delivery of the programme by an unqualified but willing teaching assistant so some form of intervention is preserved, albeit hand-to-mouth. Why should our children's future success be compromised so? One-to-one teaching offers the prospect of steady progress in reading ability, and the promise of much else. If ministers won't generate the funds needed for our children to succeed, we must take the initiative ourselves. Mr Zhevago demonstrates that there are people out there with the money and the will to give. …