Literacy in the Workforce Debate

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Department: Department for Education
Tuesday 25th April 2017

(7 years, 3 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Nash Portrait Lord Nash
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I think that we have made significant progress. I have talked about the 40% increase in funding over the next five years. We know that the OECD told us that our 2012 school leavers were among the most illiterate and innumerate in the developed world after more than 11 years in education up to 2012. We have made considerable progress on that, which is partly what our apprenticeships and T-level reforms are all about.

Lord Tebbit Portrait Lord Tebbit (Con)
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Does my noble friend not think that at the root of this problem is the poor performance of teachers in many of our schools? They simply do not seem to be interested in teaching the basic skills of literacy and other subjects. Perhaps while they are at it, they could also, with benefit, teach some of their pupils how to ask a question briefly and succinctly and not stand and read it for hours on end.

Lord Nash Portrait Lord Nash
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On the last point, I entirely agree with my noble friend about the benefits of précis. I remember spending a lot of time at school studying précis and I am sure that many people, including civil servants, could benefit from some training on that. But I pay tribute to our hard-working teachers who have supported with enthusiasm our phonics programme, which has resulted in many more children being on track to be confident young readers, and of course we now emphasise the importance of grammar in our curriculum.