BBC News – Ofsted: Literacy progress has stalled, chief inspector says

Posted: March 15, 2012 by Lee in editorial

Following my question about literacy levels in Cornwall yesterday, the news today is coincidentally about stalling literacy levels nationally.  Officially, the national average remains at 99% adult literacy in the United Kingdom.

Trying to get a firm grip on how these figures are calculated (or even what level of reading and writing is referred to) is extremely difficult.  I do remember hearing a decade ago of an extraordinarily low literacy rate in Cornwall, however, and after a bit of hunting online I found a government report which puts the adult literacy rate in Cornwall at 87%.

Whether or not those two figures are directly comparable I don’t know, but if so it’s an enormous gap (and one of some enormity).

Thankyou for your forbearance into this diversion – discussions of literacy are not, of course, directly relevant to discussions of literature and I shan’t pursue the matter any further (but feel free to add your comments below).

BBC News – Ofsted: Literacy progress has stalled, chief inspector says.

  1. infida says:

    I used to work in an office giving out educational grants to parents. I lost count of the number of people who told me that they had ‘forgotten their glasses and could I please fill the form in for them’ but I had assumed, wrongly it would appear, that times had changed.

    • Peter Jenkin says:

      @infida, interesting anecdote: could you advise us when and where roughly, and what sort of grants to whom for which courses ?

      Anecdotally, I blame the teachers 😉

      @Lee also, interesting maps in that report. Penwith comes out very badly, and N Cornwall, for which I see no explanation.

      • infida says:

        The local education office where I issued grants for free school meals, clothing grants and (dare I mention it) maintenance grants. This was a few moons ago (circa the 1970’s) but the need appears to be the same. I had thought that the literacy levels would have increased in that time but it appears not to be the case.

        Don’t set me off on the subject of teachers!! Those that can do and those that can’t … etc.

      • Lee says:

        Hi Peter,

        Obviously this is just speculation, but I think North Cornwall is probably overlooked as an area of deprivation in comparison with the more obvious Penwith. North Cornwall has been dependent on farming for a long, long time now and many people leave school at sixteen.

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