Ofsted: Secondary pupils struggle to write essays

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The Independent Online

English teaching in primary schools does not adequately prepare pupils for writing essays later in their academic careers, headteachers warned yesterday.

English teaching in primary schools does not adequately prepare pupils for writing essays later in their academic careers, headteachers warned yesterday.

They said pupils in the first years of secondary school often had difficulty writing essays because they were used to responding to primary level tasks with short answers rather than longer pieces.

David Bell, the chief inspector for Ofsted, the schools watchdog, said a report on Wednesday would reveal that too many pupils were failing to make satisfactory progress in the first three years of secondary school.

In an attempt to tackle the problem, which the Government has been troubled by since before the election last year, it has extended the national literacy strategy to cover pupils aged 11 to 14.

The Secondary Heads Association said measures in primary-level literacy did not go far enough to equip youngsters for the demands of the comprehensive curriculum.

"Secondary schools are finding that pupils are arriving with the benefit of the literacy and numeracy initiatives having improved some of their skills," said John Dunford, the association's general secretary. "However, these benefits don't mean that all the problems have been solved and secondary schools find that pupils are weaker at extended concentration and writing longer pieces."

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