‘Raising literacy and numeracy standard essential’ – Rodgers

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Thursday, February 21st, 2013

SDLP Education spokesperson Sean Rogers has said the Department of Education must champion the literacy and numeracy skills of young people in order to raise standards.

The South Down MLA was responding to the Northern Ireland Audit Office report (NIAO) ‘Improving Literacy and Numeracy Achievement in Schools’ which was published this week. Speaking to Newry Times, Rogers said he welcomed the publication of the report which focuses on the challenges that we face in improving the literacy and numeracy skills of our young people. “There needs to be a focus at three levels early years, pre and post-primary school on instilling good principles in respect of literacy and numeracy skills. Parents play an intrinsic role in their children’s development with 80% of their learning taking place outside of the classroom. “In particular early years is a key stage to confront deficits in numeracy and literacy coupled with parental involvement. If we are to raise standards we need to de-clutter our Primary Curriculum and put a firm focus on improving the teaching of literacy and numeracy within schools. He continued, “Teachers must not be over-loaded with programmes that detract from implementing good standards of teaching and leadership. Large class sizes are an issue which effects learning with many classrooms having over 30 children at Key Stage 2. “How can we attain higher standards when teaching time between pupil and teacher is squeezed to the limits? At post-primary level a clear intervention strategy is required to address the current deficits. “When a teenager tells you they struggle to read or that they ‘hate maths’ then there is a pressing need for specialist support. Critical gaps still exist in both religious background and geographical location and this must also be tackled. Rogers added, “The Education Minister must make raising literacy and numeracy levels his top priority. In 2010-11 a disturbing 9,000 pupils left full-time education after failing to reach the required standard in literacy and numeracy. That is an appalling situation. “If we build the right educational foundations for our children then we will finally raise standards in literacy and numeracy and this will have knock-on benefits for their lifelong health and well-being.”
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