Letter: Literacy: teachers have an uphill struggle

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The Independent Online
Letter: Literacy: teachers have an uphill struggleSir: Following the critical report by the Office for Standards in Education on the methods employed by teachers to teach children to read in three London boroughs (report, 8 May), I feel the need to stress that blaming teachers is not going to help. Yes, there is a problem of poor literacy and numeracy standards in our schools, but it's much more complicated. It depends on what's happening in the family, whether you are a boy or a girl and where you live, just as much as what happens in school.

What we need to do is to stop blaming everybody else and to come up with new ideas to get teachers, parents and employers to work together to improve the core skills of children at all ages. For example, in south-west London, Aztec is already piloting family literacy schemes in local schools and we also have initiatives aimed specifically at helping 11- to 16-year- olds raise their competence in core skills and improve their career prospects. But we have not done this independently, we have taken the time to meet and discuss what needs to be done and how it can be achieved with people in the local community who are directly affected. This is surely the best way forward.

Ian Parkes

Chief Executive

Aztec (Training and Enterprise Council for SW London)

Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey