Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills
On 8 November 2011 I made an oral statement to Plenary in which I set out the details of our National Literacy Programme. I committed to providing Members with updates on a regular basis. The National Literacy Programme is a five-year programme of action to transform standards of literacy in Wales. It requires every school in Wales focus on the development of literacy skills.
Our ‘Programme for Government’ stated that our aim for education is to ‘help everyone reach their potential, to reduce inequality, and to improve economic and social well-being’. My priorities are improving standards of literacy and numeracy and reducing the impact of deprivation on educational improvement.
Today I have published the National Literacy Programme which sets out the actions that will be taken by the Welsh Government and our partners to achieve a step-change in standards of literacy. By publishing the National Literacy Programme I have given a clear indication of the actions needed to raise standards.
The actions within the National Literacy Programme focus around 4 key themes:
• Setting national expectations and standards
• Greater support and development
• Stronger targeted interventions
• Greater accountability and challenge.
By embedding literacy skills in every aspect of education and by providing quality support, our ambition is:
• for learners of every age to become confident in their oracy skills and to become proficient readers and writers;
• learners will focus on the development of first language literacy in either English or Welsh with the expectation that learners attending Welsh-medium schools are equally literate in both languages by the end of Key Stage 2;
• learners who are currently falling behind their peers will achieve their potential;
• more able and talented learners will be appropriately challenged;
• learners will leave primary schools with improved literacy skills so that they benefit fully from their learning in secondary school;
• learners leaving compulsory education will have the reading, writing and oracy skills necessary for further education or employment.
Much has already been done to implement the actions set out in our National Literacy Programme. For example, development of the national reading tests is progressing at pace, the Masters in Educational Practice will begin in September and will include a literacy module and the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework will shortly be issued for consultation.
The National Literacy Programme will be reviewed on a regular basis in order to allow for new actions to be added if they are needed and for our plans to align with the best advice available. This will keep us focused on our ambition of consistent standards of literacy across Wales and, as a country, be better able to compete economically on a global scale.