Notts council’s reading scheme producing good results

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A LITERACY programme set up Nottinghamshire County Council to help young children struggling with their reading skills has proved successful, an independent study has revealed.

More than 700 primary school children have been supported by the Reading Recovery scheme since the council began offering it to Notts schools five years ago.

The Institute of Education’s five-year study found that those children who received Reading Recovery made considerably more progress in English compared with those children who didn’t receive the support.

Reading Recovery is a Government initiative which provides intensive, daily, one-to-one tuition for the lowest achieving five and six year-olds, enabling them to reach age-expected levels within 20 weeks.

The county council’s committee chairman for children and young people’s service, Coun Philip Owen said: “We’re really encouraged by the study’s findings – Reading Recovery is known to have impressive results in the shorter term, but until now, less was known about its long–term effectiveness.

“The study showed that the children who had received support in Year 1 were still doing significantly better in reading and writing and also maths than those who attended schools where Reading Recovery was not available, providing a surer basis for their transition to secondary school.”

In 2012, more children in the county achieved the national standard in tests for 11 year-olds than a year ago. For English, 87 per cent of pupils made the expected ‘Level 4’ grade, up four per cent on last year. The equivalent percentage for those children included in the study who attended non-Reading Recovery schools was 62%.

Almost 600 of the children who have already benefited from the Council scheme in Notts are now achieving age-related outcomes in reading and writing - and many are even working significantly above their peers after being the lowest achievers in their age range.

“The scheme is bringing about life-changing chances for underachieving and vulnerable children from disadvantaged families and helping to close the gap in attainment between those children and more able pupils,” added councillor Owen.

“Our Reading Recovery teachers have consistently achieved above the national average outcomes in terms of those pupils taught achieving accelerated progress, returning to age appropriate outcomes and being successfully discontinued.”

Funding for the scheme has been prioritised by the council from cash it receives from the Government.

During 2011/12 alone, 324 Notts children benefited from the scheme, and this year a further 500 children will be given one-to-one literacy tuition.

This year, the county council’s two Reading Recovery teacher leaders are training 24 new Reading Recovery teachers and support 41 experienced Reading Recovery teachers.

Jose Coles, one of the council’s Reading Recovery teacher leaders, explained: “Training for Reading Recovery teachers takes a whole year and is intensive. They work with the lowest attaining children individually and support the whole school in managing, providing and monitoring a range of other literacy support with the aim of every child being a reader and writer by the end of Key Stage 1 when a child is seven.”

In January, the council also launched a scheme offering intensive help to pupils struggling with literacy when they start secondary school. More than 300 hundred Notts pupils will benefit from the first wave of support.