Reading scheme axed in cuts to school spending

 

A pioneering project which has switched thousands of struggling pupils on to reading is being axed in primary schools.

Research shows that the Reading Recovery Project, which involves daily one-to-one half-hour reading sessions with pupils, has had a major impact in boosting reading standards.

After 12 to 20 weeks in the scheme, five- to six-year-olds saw their reading ability increase by up to 20 months – an improvement which was sustained when they were tested a year later.

But schools are being forced to axe the project – or at least reduce the number of pupils to whom they offer it – because of a squeeze on school budgets, according to the National Association of Head Teachers.

Russell Hobby, the association's general secretary, described it as the single most important scheme in helping primary schools to tackle the reading problems of slow learners.

Research by London University's Institute of Education shows that at the end of the 20-week period, pupils on the Reading Recovery Project had improved their literacy by 20 months – compared with six months for pupils on other programmes. Tested a year later, it was shown that the children involved were keeping up in class.

Labour invested £144m in the scheme over a three-year period to train 18,000 teachers to deliver it. But Mr Hobby said that many schools were having to abandon it or reduce its impact because of the budget squeeze.

The Coalition Government has targeted resources on disadvantaged pupils, giving schools £430 extra for every pupil they educate entitled to free school meals. However, Mr Hobby said the money had not been enough to compensate for the loss of central funding for the scheme.

Heads say that the Government's plans to test five- and six-year-olds on their reading will be costly to run and that when the scheme was trialled in 300 schools, most teachers said they did not help to identify problem pupils.

The axing of the Reading Recovery Project in primary schools is only one of the effects being felt by the impact of the squeeze on spending.

Mr Hobby told of one school which was now accepting hand-me-down laptops and IT technology from parents and local firms, because its budget to supply technology had been reduced to just £4,000 a year. Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, singled out the removal of support for one-to-one teaching as having an obvious impact on learning.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said it was targeting pupils from deprived backgrounds through its £430 "pupil premium".

"We've secured the best possible settlement for schools considering the harsh economic situation and we've given schools complete freedom over every aspect of their budgets. We trust heads to know the needs of their own schools and where the money needs to be spent to make the biggest impact."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Opilio Recruitment: Product Owner

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Recruitment Genius: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas