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PIRLS data shows improved reading and literacy performance in English schools

07/12/2017 Joanna

Pupils in England have moved up the global rankings in terms of their reading and literacy performance, according to a new international study.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) has ranked England in joint eighth position out of 50 countries assessed, placing it among the highest performing countries in Europe. This followed a study of the reading comprehension and enjoyment of 340,000 nine-year-olds around the world.

This eighth-place ranking represents the country's best performance since the PIRLS programme was launched in 2001, and also marks a significant improvement on the 2006 results, when England was ranked 19th out of 45 countries.

It means England is outperforming leading nations such as the US, Canada and Australia in terms of reading and literacy, with all pupils making improvements, but low-performing pupils experiencing the most significant progress.

The attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and more privileged students closed by 9.3 per cent at age 11 and seven per cent at age 16, while the proportion of pupils meeting the expected standard in phonics has risen from 58 per cent in 2012 to 81 per cent in 2017, with 92 per cent of pupils reaching this target by age seven.

This follows the publication of figures in September showing that an additional 154,000 six-year-old children are now on track to become fluent readers than was the case in 2012.

School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "Thanks to the hard work of teachers across the country, 154,000 more six year olds are reading better than ever before - this is fundamental to our ambition of helping every child fulfil their potential.

"Our rise through the global rankings is even more commendable because it has been driven by an increase in the number of low-performing pupils reading well. This demonstrates our determination to ensure this is a country that works for everyone, regardless of background."

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