Department for Education
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Thousands more primary pupils on track to be excellent readers

Results of this year's phonics screening check show a continued rise in pupils meeting the expected reading standard.

The number of primary children on track to becoming excellent readers has increased, official figures revealed yesterday (29 September 2016).

The results of this year’s phonics screening check show that there are now 147,000 more 6-year-olds on track to become excellent readers since the introduction of the check in 2012.

The proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard in phonics was 81% in year 1 and 91% by the end of year 2, rises on last year of 4% and 1% respectively.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

The government is determined to make this country work for everyone, not just the privileged few. Ensuring all primary school children can read fluently by the time they leave primary school is fundamental to this ambition.

Thanks to the hard work of teachers, our continued focus on raising standards and our increased emphasis on phonics‎, there are now an additional 147,000 6-year-olds on track to becoming fluent readers. While this is a huge achievement, we know there is more to do. We will work with schools and local authorities to ensure even more young people have the knowledge and skills they need to get on in life.

Evidence shows systematic synthetic phonics - the technique in which pupils are taught to sound out and blend the sounds of the alphabet into words - is the most effective method of teaching reading to children.

Despite the continuing rise in the number of pupils meeting the expected standard, the results of this year’s check show there are still a number of local areas across the country that are struggling to achieve a good level of literacy for their pupils.

Tackling underachievement is a priority for the government, which recently published Schools that work for everyone, a consultation document which outlines a range of proposals aimed at ensuring every child has access to a good school place that caters to their individual talents.

As the standard is higher, and the forms of teacher assessment are new, the results will look different from those of previous years and cannot be compared to them.

Notes to editors

Also published yesterday are the results of this year’s reformed key stage 1 assessments. The figures show that at the end of key stage 1, 74% of pupils achieved the new expected standard in reading, 65% in writing and 73% in maths.

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