employment secretary David Blunkett today as he announced the
National Year of Reading. He also gave details of a further£50m of government support for literacy a vital component of which is additional training for 190,000 primary school teachers.
Within the new Standards Fund,£50m is being devoted to
-- an initial£21m to update the skills of 190,000 primary
school teachers during the National Year of Reading
--£19m to provide for extra books for children
--£10m to take forward existing literacy and numeracy projects
-- to provide proper support for teachers in the teaching of reading
-- to train primary classroom assistants
Mr Blunkett said: 'We are determined to produce a quantum leap in our
literacy standards. We have set challenging targets to improve
standards of literacy in children. They are our priority. We have
now backed our pledges with resources and today is a further
demonstration of our determination to succeed.'
'The National Year of Reading will start with the 1998 autumn school
term. I am writing to my colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland to seek their support for ensuring this is truly 'The
Nation's Year of Reading'. It will be the most intensive national
campaign ever, designed to transform standards of literacy and
enhance the culture of reading across the nation with a further£4m committed by us to fund the year.
'The year will involve everyone - teachers, schools, parents, family,
publishers, booksellers, business and industry, and the media. We
all can play a part. As parents we can all share books with our
children and encourage and foster a respect for the written word.
'Innovation will be essential to the success of the year. Already an
advisory committee is working to generate exciting new ways of
bringing reading to the forefront of the nation's attention. We are
helped by creative individuals such as Ken Follett whose drive and
experience is a tremendous asset in planning this venture.
'By the year 2002, 80% of all 11 year olds will reach the standards of literacy expected of them - this is our target, that is our intention. The National Year of Reading will be enormously helpful in achieving our goal.'
1.The Standards Fund replaces the former Grants for Education Support
and Training (GEST) and will develop partnerships with local
education authorities and schools to help raise school standards as
set out in the Excellence In Schools White Paper published on 7 July.
2.A circular to be issued to all LEAs today outlines the 1998/9
programme which includes: school effectiveness; school leadership;
newly qualified teachers; early years training and development;
reduction of reception class sizes; assessment; National Literacy
Strategy for primary and Key Stage 3; literacy summer schools; family
literacy; study support centres; and special educational needs.
3.Planning for the National Year of Reading to start in autumn 1998
is at its early stages. A leaflet issued today for those interested
in participating is available by writing to: Judith Page, National
Year of Reading Team, DfEE, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street,
London SW1P 3BT.
4.Support for the National Year of Reading has already been offered
by Merseyside TV (producers of Brookside, Grange Hill and Hollyoaks),
the BIG Breakfast, BBC TV, Times Educational Supplement, Walkers
Snack Food, the Post Office, Marks and Spencer and Coleman Getty.
Random House publishers Macmillan, and WH Smith have also offered
active support, as have the Commission for Racial Equality, the
Publishers' Association, the Library Association and the Booksellers
Association, the Basic Skills Agency, the Book Trust and the National