Kevan Collins comments on today’s PIRLS results

Commenting on today’s PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) results, Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

Today’s results are good news for English schools. The continuing progress in primary literacy is testament to the hard work of teachers and pupils.

However, despite good overall results, there remains a stark gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers – poorer English pupils perform below the overall international average. It’s clear the focus now needs to be on boosting reading standards for this group of pupils. This means identifying those pupils that need extra support early on and giving them structured and evidence-based catch-up programmes to help them catch-up.

The evidence tells us that phonics is crucial to teaching reading early. It’s also important that teachers use a range of different strategies to develop pupils’ fluency in reading, writing and speaking.

Notes to editors

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a grant-making charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement. Since its launch the EEF has awarded £87 million to test the impact of 142 projects reaching more than 960,000 children and young people in over 9,200 schools, nurseries and colleges across England. The EEF and Sutton Trust are, together, the government-designated What Works Centre for Education.
  2. The Teaching and Learning Toolkit and its Early Years companion are accessible summaries of educational research developed by the EEF in collaboration with the Sutton Trust and a team of academics at Durham University led by Professor Steve Higgins. The Toolkits cover 46 topics and summarises research from over 11,500 studies. The Toolkits are a live resource which are regularly updated.
  3. Improving Literacy in Key Stage Two offers practical and evidence based guidance on effective literacy teaching in primary school.