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One in five pupils at least two years behind in reading

PUBLISHED: 10:15 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:14 22 July 2010

ONE in five Islington children will struggle at their secondary school because they are at least two years behind in reading.

ONE in five Islington children will struggle at their secondary school because they are at least two years behind in reading.

Figures show that 20.1 per cent of the borough's kids failed to achieve the benchmark level four in their Key Stage Two reading exams last year. That means they are starting secondary school at the age of 11 with a reading age of no more than nine.

And nearly 10 per cent of kids only achieved a level two result - meaning they are four years behind.

Katie Gavin, a private English tutor who specialises in teaching kids when they start secondary school, said: "If they are not at level four they have the reading age of no more than a nine-year-old. Level four is the average standard you expect when they start secondary school. Below that they are going to have a tough time."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said: "At level three they can still read but they are not at the expected level. They will need extra support to catch up when they go to high school.

"If they are at level two then they are at the level we would expect from a seven-year-old. They are seriously behind and it will be very difficult for them."

Councillor Richard Watts, Islington Labour's education spokesman, said: "The council is failing our children. Hot on the heels of finding out Islington has among the worst GCSE results in the country we now find out we are letting down our kids by not giving them the basic skills they need to get on in life.

"Reading is about the most crucial like skill kids can have. If they struggle to read everything else becomes more difficult."

He added: "If these kids are starting two years behind that is a pretty serious impediment. Will they catch up by 16? If not, their futures are at stake."

Councillor Ursula Woolley, executive member for children and young people, said: "In practice, some new arrivals might still be learning English when they start secondary school. But Islington had some of the country's most improved Key Stage 2 results last year. We want all our children to meet their KS2 targets so all children can start secondary school knowing what they need to keep up.


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