Best practice in the reading and writing of pupils aged five to seven years - March 2009


Although many schools have been successful in improving standards over the last decade, the pace of improvement has now slowed. Over the past five years the proportion of 5-7 year olds achieving good levels of reading and writing skills has stopped rising, in both English and Welsh. At the end of key stage 1, the gap between boys’ and girls’ performance is almost three times wider than in maths and science. The slow rate at which boys develop reading and writing skills is recognised as one of the contributory factors that lead to an even wider gender gap later on in learning.
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Schools should:

  • continue to raise standards in English and Welsh by giving attention to the development of pupils’ oracy skills, skills in writing at length, information retrieval strategies and spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting; and
  • continue to improve curriculum planning.

Local authorities should:

  • agree a strategy that identifies, explicitly, action to improve standards of oracy, reading and writing for five to seven year olds, and includes a focus on the issues raised in the recommendations already noted above; and
  • learn from the best practice shown in a few authorities.

Providers of initial teacher education should:

  • note the contents of this report to inform the training of new teachers.

The Welsh Assembly Government should:

  • continue to make funding available for local authorities to work with schools to improve reading and writing skills, with a particular focus on writing.

For a full list of recommendations, please download the report.