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Ofsted has issued a new report on standards for reading and writing in England’s primary schools.

Reading by Six: how the best schools do it highlights good practice in literacy in twelve schools ranked as “outstanding”. The report claims that the best primary schools teach virtually all their children to read, regardless of their social and economic background, ethnicity, language spoken at home, special needs and disability.

The report attributes success in teaching reading, writing and spelling in the twelve schools to the careful and systematic application of phonics.

Findings from Ofsted inspections support research evidence which suggests that the optimum time for children to learn to read is between the ages of three and seven. However, twenty per cent of children leaving primary school have not reached the expected standard for reading and writing.

Launching the report, Christine Gilbert from Ofsted said: “Despite some major initiatives in recent years to raise standards in reading and writing, the levels achieved by many children at the end of primary school fall stubbornly short of what is achievable.”

However, Ms Gilbert argued that twelve schools focused on in the report should not be seen as a “rarefied elite”, and all schools should be challenged to match their achievements. “If schools set their minds and practice to it, they can teach virtually every child to read”, she said.

To view the report, Reading by Six: how the best schools do it, click here.

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