Early reading progress in English primary schools surpasses international counterparts

Early reading progress in English primary schools surpasses international counte

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Early reading progress in English primary schools surpasses international counterparts

Children in their first year of primary school in England make more progress in reading than those in Scotland, New Zealand and two parts of Australia, according to new research.

The study by Durham University showed that children in schools in England start with the lowest reading scores compared to the other countries but they catch up with the others by the end of the reception year.

By contrast, in mathematics, children in England started at a lower level but made only the same progress as in the other countries.

The feasibility study is the first to assess what children know and can do when they start school using a nationally representative sample and objective data.

The research, funded by the Department for Education, analysed children’s starting points and progress in their first year of school across England, Scotland, New Zealand and two areas in Australia. 

Data from nearly 20,000 children were assessed using the Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) On-entry Baseline and Follow-up assessments, a tool which has been used with around two million children in schools in many countries around the world for over 20 years.

The report also shows that children’s progress was found to be much greater during their first year at school than in any other year at school.

Lead author, Professor Peter Tymms, Director of iPIPS from the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University, said: "Our research shows the dramatic impact that schools in all four countries have on children’s learning in their first year.

"On the basis of this evidence, schools in England are doing particularly well at teaching children to read, and are about as good as other countries in teaching mathematics. They also make a huge impact on children’s personal, social and emotional development."