Children are starting secondary school with a reading age of SIX

Children are starting secondary school with a reading age of SIX as education experts warn of crisis in schools made worse by the pandemic

  • Campaigners have warned of a ‘reading crisis’ across British schools this year  
  • It is believed the crisis was accelerated by the numerous coronavirus lockdowns 
  • Secondary school teachers are now being training in giving reading lessons  
  • Some secondary school children are only able to understand books intended for six-year-olds, teachers have revealed. 

    Campaigners have warned of a ‘reading crisis’ across British schools which is believed to have been accelerated by lockdowns which saw children forced to learn from home.  

    And secondary school teachers are now having to be trained in giving reading lessons.

    Campaigners have warned of a 'reading crisis' across British schools which is believed to have been accelerated by lockdowns which saw children forced to learn from home. Stock picture

    Campaigners have warned of a ‘reading crisis’ across British schools which is believed to have been accelerated by lockdowns which saw children forced to learn from home. Stock picture

    The president of the Association of School and College Leaders, Pepe Di’lasio, told The Times: ‘This is a nationwide issue.’ 

    Research published last year found that one in five 11-year-olds at secondary school weren’t able to read to the expected standard.  

    The UK is 14th in international league tables for reading, according to Pisa tests which evaluates the reading of 15-year-olds in 70 countries.  

    Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise to make children’s reading take precedence he refused to give £15billion in funding to help children catch up. 

    Will Millard, from the think tank Centre for Education and Youth, told the publication: ‘Secondary schools are having to do remedial reading with 11-year-olds. We are working with ten schools and they all have a focus on reading and children’s vocabulary.

    ‘For the children who were most behind to begin with, we are facing a real crisis. It’s a perfect storm including teachers still away and schools overstretched.’ 

    Former chief inspector of education, Sir Michael Wilshaw (pictured), has also warned it is a ‘huge crisis’

    And former chief inspector of education, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has also warned it is a ‘huge crisis’.  

    Mr Di’lasio, who is the headteacher at Wales High School in Rotherham, says that 10 per cent of his students are more than a year behind the reading age they should be at and 20 per cent are six months behind. 

    And most alarming, around 12 students are five years behind.    

    He has resorted to trying to tempt children into reading by using apps so it feels more modern.   

    The Department for Education said it was ‘committed to raising literacy standards’.