Literacy levels falling in Scotland’s schools

Literacy levels in Scotland’s schools have dipped, according to a new report.

Compared to 2012, fewer Scottish school children are good at reading and writing. The 2014 Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy, published this week, shows that performance in reading has dropped in primary schools, as well as in second year of secondary school. Some levels also showed a drop in writing at some levels.

The Scottish Government has said that work to improve literacy will be stepped up, and Education Scotland inspectors will be asked to focus on literacy when visiting schools. Education Secretary Angela Constance said that ministers would be setting up a new national improvement framework too, drawing on international practice, with extra learning resources for staff.

Ms Constance said: Literacy and numeracy are vital skills for our young people. That’s why the survey was commissioned – to get a clear picture at various stages of school. And it is why we all must act on its findings.

“Put simply, while Scottish pupils perform well, these results are not as good as they should be. They demonstrate the need to re-double efforts to ensure that every child can succeed in school and so gain the skills they need for life.

“This Government has already made clear that tackling the attainment gap is a key priority. The £100 million Scottish Attainment Challenge, the Read, Write, Count campaign and Access to Education funding are all designed to drive up standards and close the attainment gap. In addition to these and other actions taken since last year’s survey was conducted, I have also asked Education Scotland to strengthen the focus on literacy as part of their school inspections.

“I also intend to work closely with education partners to establish a national improvement framework. This will give us the data we need to ensure that every child can achieve the high standards set out within Curriculum for Excellence.

“In the last six months I’ve seen excellent work in our schools, to support learners and parents. It is essential that we both promote this positive practice in schools and identify where improvements can and should be made.”

View results of the most recent survey here.