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Reading Reform Foundation (RRF) - Promoting Synthetic Phonics : Page Title

RRF Newsletter 60 back to contents
Alan Johnson Welcomes Pre-Budget ReportPress Release: 06 December 2006

Welcoming the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report, Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson said:

“Education has always been top of the Government’s agenda. Today’s announcements in the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report reinforce the importance of our reforms and the determination to continue improving the educational and training opportunities of children, young people and adults up and down the country.

“I am today announcing that the Every Child A Reader programme will be rolled out nationally building on the excellent results we already have seen in our pilot which is currently helping 5,000 children. The extension will mean that 30,000 boys and girls will benefit from the programme by 2010, with special catch up tuition to improve their reading skills. Funding for the Bookstart scheme will mean that all children starting primary school at age five and moving to secondary school at age 11 will get free books.

“This will build on our success in helping more primary school pupils than ever before master the basics, with 95,000 more 11 year olds making the grade in English than in 1997.

“We can announce extra funds for secondary schools where the learning gap between boys and girls is greatest. This will enable schools to implement more mentoring, personalised learning and small group tutoring helping to ensure that all children reach their full potential and improve their life chances.

“We continue to invest in the infrastructure of our schools and colleges. The record capital investment announced today will rebuild and refurbish all secondary schools in the country and includes £600 million for capital investment in Further Education underpinning our commitment to vocational training and skills development.

“This is crucial to enable us to take forward our specialised diplomas for 14 to 19 year olds. This investment also plays a key part as we work with employers and individuals to drive up skills so that we have the world class skills base in this country in line with the vision set out by Lord Leitch in his review.”

[This press notice relates to 'England']

1. The key headlines from the PBR for the Department for Education and Skills are:

Catch-Up Tuition for Reading and Writing: £10 Million in 2007-08; £6 million pa thereafter:
This proposal will help secondary age pupils who are struggling with reading and writing, with a particular focus on boys. It will fund strategies to help all schools boost literacy skills, and 400 targeted secondary schools in selected local authorities to provide after school, small group support for reading and writing.


Booktrust: £4m in 2007-08:

Booktrust aims to help children develop a love for reading. It is supported by more than 25 children’s publishers. Children who are entering secondary school will be able to choose a book from a range of titles that will be offered to them in a catalogue of books that are delivered to their school. Children entering primary school will receive a gift pack including an illustrated children’s book, selected by an independent advisory panel.


Every Child A Reader (ECAR):

ECAR uses a mix of intensive one-to-one support on the reading recovery model, and a range of other small group interventions to help children with significant literacy difficulties to learn to read. Currently running as a three year pilot, jointly funded by the private sector, ECAR is helping 5,000 5 and 6 year-olds with significant literacy difficulties to learn to read. The scheme will be rolled out nationally over the CSR period, to benefit over 30,000 children a year by 2010-11.

In rolling out Every Child A Reader, we will improve the scheme still further by ensuring that it takes full account of the recommendations of Jim Rose’s review on the teaching of early reading, and the systematic use of phonics as the prime strategy for the teaching of reading.


Schools Standards Grant increase: £130m in 2007-2008:

SSG and SSG (Personalisation) combined are worth £1,232m in 2006-2007. This will rise to £1,557m 2007-2008 as a result of the PBR. Schools can spend SSG and SSG (Personalisation) for any purpose of the school, and on community facilities in support of extended services beyond those that are eligible to be supported through their main delegated budget

Capital: £8.3 billion in 2006-07; £8.6 billion in 2008-09; £9.1 billion in 2009-10; rising to £10.2 billion:
This settlement represents generous extra investment for education, especially schools, and enables the Government to press ahead with ambitious long-term programmes to improve at least half of all primary schools; rebuild or refurbish all secondary schools; meet its commitments on Academies; improve kitchens to cook healthy meals; and invest in technology.

Contact Details
Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288,

Press Notice 2006/0185


Debbie Hepplewhite’s comment re Every Child A Reader:

Alan Johnson states: “In rolling out Every Child A Reader, we will improve the scheme still further by ensuring that it takes full account of the recommendations of Jim Rose’s review on the teaching of early reading, and the systematic use of phonics as the prime strategy for the teaching of reading.”


We must hold the government to account as to why it is promoting and financing intervention programmes which need to be improved (which, in effect, means ‘changed’) when there are groups who have already developed and trialled successful systematic phonics intervention programmes with no official financial support or promotion. Has the government made wise decisions regarding its selective promotion of a hitherto flawed intervention programme with its expensive and lengthy training schedule - and which needs significant changing since the Rose recommendations have been accepted?


Is this really a case of ‘who you know’ rather than ‘what you know’?






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