Department for Education
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Action to boost early writing, reading and maths skills

Action to boost early writing, reading and maths skills

DEPARTMENT FOR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES News Release (2007/0171) issued by The Government News Network on 26 September 2007

Ed Balls launches 3Rs catch-up support for primary pupils

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, today announced a new programme of intensive support for writing in primary schools - Every Child A Writer.

He also announced the roll out of intensive support and one-to-one tuition in reading and maths: Every Child A Reader and Every Child Counts.

The Government will invest £144 million over the next three years into rolling out nationally the Every Child A Reader (ECAR) and Every Child Counts (ECC) programmes.

By 2011, 30,000 seven-year-olds who need help with maths and 30,000 six-year-olds who have difficulty reading will get intensive one-to-one tuition through ECAR and ECC each year.

By the end of 2010/11 it is expected there will be 1,600 teachers trained to offer the high level of expertise involved in Every Child Counts and at least 1,800 teachers trained for Every Child A Reader.

This more intensive support is additional to the one-to-one tuition announced by the Prime Minister, which will reach a total of 300,000 primary and secondary school pupils over the three years to 2010/11 in each of English and in maths.

Ed Balls said: "I want all children to master the skills they need to succeed at secondary school, which means that every child should leave primary school able to read and write and do maths. However, some children need extra help early on so that they don't lose heart and get left behind by their classmates.

"Every child should be able to do simple sums using subtraction, addition, division and multiplication appropriate to their age. Every child should be able to read fluently and understand what they have read in the same way. That is why we have developed Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts, and why we are now rolling them out nationally.

"Our new Every Child A Writer programme will complete the package of support, ensuring that children can express themselves clearly in writing and can spell correctly."

Every Child A Writer is still being developed and may offer support later in primary school than Every Child a Reader and Every Child Counts, which are targeted at younger primary children, potentially reaching a greater number of pupils and teachers.

New guidance and training is also being made available this term for the first time to primary schools to support the teaching of writing for six, eight and ten year olds.

Ed Balls announced today that the new Every Child A Writer programme would build on this, with further support to ensure that every teacher uses the best teaching methods, including one-to-one coaching, in areas of writing which primary children find hardest to master.

The case for further action on the 3Rs is clear: while test results in writing at age 11 have improved by 14 percentage points since 1997, only 67 % of pupils currently achieve the expected level for their age. By comparison, 77% in maths and 84% in reading achieve the expected level. A focus on writing will help ensure that all children are secure in all of the 3Rs.

Every Child Counts will be a partnership between the Government and the new charity, Every Child a Chance, a coalition of business partners, charitable trusts and others. The Charity is currently recruiting partners to bring both financial support and educational expertise to the development phase of Every Child Counts. The charity expects to raise £5 million from business and other sources. Every Child Counts will build on the highly successful collaboration between Government, business, charitable trusts and the education community pioneered by the KPMG Foundation in Every Child A Reader.

John Griffith-Jones (Senior Partner and Chairman of KPMG), Jim O'Neill (Chief Economist at Goldman Sachs), Sir Peter Lampl (Chairman of the Sutton Trust) and philanthropist Paul Marshall have agreed to serve as initial Trustees of Every Child a Chance.


1. The KPMG Foundation has set up a new charity "Every Child A Chance" which will bring both business expertise and financial support to the development of ECC and ECAR

2. The programme will develop effective intervention strategies and train teachers to provide support to those who need it most. In developing ECC, the department will work with six local authorities to trial a range of approaches and take into account recommendations made by Sir Peter Williams in his primary Maths review.

3. Teachers will be given professional development to ensure they have the expertise to provide children with the right support. Children will continue to receive support once they have caught up.

4. Education Secretary Alan Johnson announced the national roll out of Every Child A Reader on 6 December 2006, as part of the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report announcements. He announced 30,000 boys and girls would benefit from the programme to improve reading skills by 2010. A study by the Institute of Education showed that children completing the programme increase their reading levels by an average of 21 months - well over four times the expected rate of progress.

5. Pupils will receive intensive daily half hour one-to-one tuition sessions from teachers thanks to the Every Child Counts and Every Child A Reader schemes. They will continue to attend their normal daily literacy and numeracy lessons and will leave the programmes once they have caught up with other children of their age.

6. Evidence suggests that once children start to fall behind in basic skills like literacy and maths, it becomes tougher to reverse a trend that can be damaging for the rest of their school and working lives. Findings from pilot schools for Every Child A Reader shows they are improving reading results and that early intervention works.

7. New guidance and training "Improving writing with a focus on guided writing" is available to all schools from the Government's Primary National Strategy on:

0870 000 2288


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