Education Endowment Foundation:EEF blog: Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2

EEF blog: Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2

The EEF’s Chief Executive, Professor Becky Francis, introduces our newly updated Key Stage 2 Literacy guidance report.
Becky Francis CBE
Becky Francis CBE
Chief Executive

The EEF’s Chief Executive, Professor Becky Francis, introduces our newly updated guidance report, Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2′.

Blog •2 minutes •

Giving every child the skills they need to read and write well is a central ambition of our education system. The importance of literacy extends beyond its crucial role in enabling learning across the curriculum. Literacy matters in countless aspects of daily life — throughout the life course— and it significantly influences the opportunities that children and adults have available to them.

Yet despite our best efforts, too many children, particularly those from disadvantaged homes, fall behind in literacy. Disadvantaged pupils are 20% less likely than their peers to reach the expected standards in reading, writing and maths by the end of primary school, and the gap in literacy attainment grows substantially during Key Stage 2, with pupils making less progress than their peers in both reading and writing.1

Supporting socially disadvantaged pupils to excel in literacy at this stage of life is critical to closing the attainment gap between this group of pupils and their peers.

Key Stage 2 is a key period for literacy development for all pupils. Pupils learn many of the foundations of literacy in the early years and Key Stage 1 but must build on these foundations in Key Stage 2 to become skilled readers and writers, equipped to take on the challenges of secondary school learning. The message from the evidence summarised in this report is clear: to excel in literacy, pupils need high quality teaching and extensive opportunities to practice reading and writing.

The first edition of our Improving Literacy in Key Stage 2’ guidance report was published in 2017. This second edition has been updated to take into account the latest research and to provide further exemplification for school staff. The seven key recommendations remain the same but this new edition provides additional information, tools, and examples to support teachers and school leaders to understand the recommendations and put them into practice.

Following the COVID pandemic, we know that primary literacy is a key education recovery priority for schools. Our hope is that this updated guidance will support teachers and school leaders to provide their pupils with evidence-informed literacy provision that improves outcomes for all.