Education: Blunkett aims cash at literacy

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David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, yesterday announced details of pounds 59m funding for education authorities to meet ambitious literacy targets. The Government has guaranteed that by 2002, 80 per cent of 11-year-olds will achieve the level of literacy expected for their age.

In this summer's tests, 63 per cent of 11-year-olds gained the required grades in English, up from 58 per cent last year. But only 57 per cent of 11-year-old boys compared with 69 per cent of girls made the expected grade. This trend was continued for older children, with 66 per cent of girls achieving the expected level or better by the age of 14, compared with 47 per cent for boys. Many authorities have fewer than than 40 per cent of pupils at the required standard.