Too many children are still struggling to read effectively:

  • By the time they are 11, almost 1 in 8 children leave primary school without the expected level of reading required for them to cope with the secondary curriculum (Department for Education, 2013).
  • About a third of six-year-olds are struggling with their reading after their first year at school. About a quarter of seven-year-olds are still struggling with their reading after their second year. (Department for Education, 2013).
  • Half of 15-17 year olds entering public sector Young Offender Institutes were assessed as having the literacy levels equivalent to that expected of a 7-11 year old. (Government Green Paper, ‘Transforming Youth Custody: Putting education at the heart of detention’ – February 2013)

By supporting Berkshire children to improve their reading skills we are contributing to improvements in the social and educational inequality that many local children are struggling with:

  • In 2012, disadvantaged children in West Berkshire had the worst attainment in England at primary school level (Ofsted).
  • Educational attainment in Reading especially is below average in Key Stage 1 and 2 (Children & Young People’s Plan 2011-14).
  • Around 25% of the children we support come from poor backgrounds and research shows that there is a direct link between poverty and illiteracy. Research in Berkshire confirms that low levels of literacy correlate with high levels of unemployment, over-crowded households and poverty (Berkshire Community Foundation: Overcoming Social Deprivation).
  • 27% of Reading children live in the 30% most deprived areas in England (Reading Borough Council).