Parts of Norfolk and Suffolk among the worst in England for reading ability of children from low-income backgrounds

Norfolk County Council has said it is taking action to improve reading ability of children eligible

Norfolk County Council has said it is taking action to improve reading ability of children eligible for the pupil premium. Photo credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Three areas in our region are among the worst-performing in England for the reading ability of children from low-income families, according to new research.

The Read On. Get On, campaign, which includes Save the Children, said Norwich South, Great Yarmouth and Waveney are in the bottom 25 parliamentary constituencies, based on data for 11-year-olds from the last three years.

Meanwhile, the report said reading standards got worse in Mid Norfolk and Broadland between 2003 and 2013.

Dame Julia Cleverdon, chairman of Read On. Get On., said: 'Focused effort is now necessary to ensure that children from the poorest families and most deprived constituencies do not fall even further behind.

'This encouraging report identifies how some communities have turned things around thanks to hard work by pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community. This sets the tone for the Read On. Get On. campaign and we look forward to building on the practices of those achieving great results for the poorest children.'

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A Norfolk County Council spokesman said it agreed with the data, and has identified it as an issue. It said that because writing had historically been poor in Norfolk, many schools now focus heavily on that, at the expense of daily reading teaching in some cases.

She said the council will launch a strategy for children who qualify for the pupil premium, which is triggered by low income, in January; is targeting schools with poorer reading outcomes, and is collecting data for pupil premium children every six weeks to monitor progress.

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She added: 'We launched a new Early Years strategy this year to ensure more focused support in areas where children's early communication skills were falling behind, because we know this inhibits the development of their reading skills and impacts on overall learning.'

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