What is the current policy on literacy with

What is the current policy on literacy with chief and peculiar respects to secondary instruction and what portion has research played in developing the literacy initiative/literacy policies in secondary instruction?



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Literature Review






Literacy is seen in Whitehall as one of the cardinal barriers to societal promotion and societal inclusion at the morning of the 20 first century. For every bit long as society presides over an instruction system that produces illiterate kids, the gulf between rich and hapless, and between the enfranchised and disenfranchised will go on to turn, which is to the ultimate hurt of all of modern-day civilization. Furthermore, with the realization of the policy of globalization there has been an inflow into the British instruction system of kids for whom English is non their first linguistic communication. This has wholly altered the educational landscape in the metropolitan parts of the state where instructors are now faced with an even greater battle in footings of guaranting that literacy is a right for all pupils as opposed to a privilege for the fortunate bulk. In add-on, there is besides the considerable job of digital engineering ( such as nomadic phones ) and the negative impact this has had with respects to literacy development of immature grownups in the modern epoch. Therefore, the issue of literacy in instruction ( non merely secondary instruction, but besides primary school and grownup instruction ) is non merely extremely topical, it is besides merely likely to increase in significance in the extroverted old ages and decennaries as the accent upon basic accomplishments cements itself as a cardinal domestic policy dogma of the New Labour authorities ( Muschamp et al, 1999:144 ) .

Literature Review

Concerns over criterions of literacy are every bit old as concerns over criterions of instruction itself. As two of the former three R’s that used to represent the cardinal rules of the instruction system in the UK, reading and composing have ne’er lost their relevancy in the broader context of learning at the province school degree. As the great bulk of the historical drift behind this research has come from strictly literary beginnings, it is prudent to get down the literature reappraisal with an overview of the academic beginnings that deal with literacy in an educational scene.

Academic Beginnings: United kingdom

In modern footings, involvement in province secondary schools begins with the fall-out from the large?scale administrative educational reforms enacted during the Thatcher authoritiess in the in-between and late 1980’s. One of the first books to cover specifically with this new focal point upon instruction at the regional and national degree was Carole Edelsky’s 1991 publication,With Literacy and Justice for All, which should be seen as a literary and policy pre-cursor to the coming of the New Labour authorities, which is where extended involvement in literacy ( and, specifically, its relationship to societal exclusion ) was triggered. Indeed, the popular election motto of “education, instruction, education” that swept Tony Blair to power in 1997 was so ingrained in the national consciousness at the terminal of the 20th century that the phrase was short?listed for entry into the Oxford English Dictionary. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to larn that the majority of the academic end product with respects to literacy emanates from this clip onwards making its zenith in the modern-day epoch.

With specific respects to literacy and secondary instruction, there can be no more important work than the essays and research compiled by Maureen Lewis and David Wray ( 2006 ) . Based upon the work of the Nuffield Extended Literacy ( EXEL ) Undertaking, this is a primary beginning book that uses the first?hand experiences of instructors to organize a composite whole sing how best to implement literacy lesson programs in a secondary school schoolroom. This has been augmented by guidebooks such as Wray’s ownTeaching Literacy( 2006 ) , which shows secondary school instructors ( peculiarly English instructors ) how to integrate literacy larning in a mainstream schoolroom scene.

Academic diaries are frequently a much more concise agencies of interchanging information than academic books with specific research rubrics concentrating upon narrower lines of rational Inquisition. For illustration, theJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacyenables research workers such as Alvermann and Heron ( 2001:118?122 ) to research the value of new media in heightening literacy degrees in a secondary context. Likewise, the more policy?orientated diaries such as theReading and Writing Quarterly, which has enabled research workers Christine Leland and Wendy Kasten ( 2002 ) to look at ways of taking the literacy sweetening policy forwards in the 20 first century.

Governmentand Government Partnership Beginnings

In the modern-day epoch there can be no primary beginning of greater significance thanThe Moser Report( 1999 ) . It is just to state that the findings contained within this study shocked both local instruction governments and policy shapers into accepting that the literacy degrees of UK citizens ( including grownups every bit good as immature people ) had non risen in tandem with the initial betterments seen in primary schools and cardinal phases 1 and 2 after 1997. Furthermore, decennaries of inactivity had resulted in an unacceptable state of affairs whereby – at the terminal of the 20th century – some seven million grownups ( one in five ) were found to hold literacy degrees below those expected of an 11 twelvemonth old student. These consequences have been corroborated byThe Skills for Life Report( 2003 ) where one in six respondents admitted holding serious jobs refering literacy.

At first glimpse, it might look that ( because of the focal point upon grownup illiteracy ) ,The Moser Reportcomes outside of the theoretical parametric quantities of the treatment at manus ; nevertheless, when one considers that these grownups are in fact the merchandise of the domestic instruction system and ( specifically ) the province secondary school, the value of these authorities and authorities partnership findings becomes more evident. Attempts at battling these larning inequalities at the grass?roots degree are presently the focal point of authorities studies, such asThe Literacy and Social Inclusion Handbook( 2006 ) , which is aimed at local governments who have a great duty to supervise educational reform in the age of political decentralization.

Online Beginnings

These guidebooks and policy diaries are best viewed alongside the overplus of on-line stuff that is available with respects to literacy. The most valuable is the National Literacy Trust – an affiliate of the Basic Skills Agency, established as a beginning of Internet contact between the authorities, instruction professionals and policy analysts.

Newspaper Articles

Broadsheet newspapers are besides a utile beginning of independent, indifferent sentiment on secondary instruction and literacy withThe GuardianandThe Timesboth offering hebdomadal sub?sections aimed at instructors.


The methods required to outdo answer the research rubric involve being able to critically analyse authorities policy on instruction and the informations that these findings produce. Therefore, there are major qualitative and quantitative obstructions refering analysis of authorities beginnings in the electronic age and the manner in which to construe both policy enterprises and informations. In the concluding analysis, one must ever stay argus-eyed and cautious with respects to findings such as these whereby facts and figures are carefully constructed in order to confirm the dominant subject of the policy. Likewise, those findings and beginnings that seek to discredit the Blair Government should besides be treated with intuition as they besides have an docket. Ultimately, hence, it is likely merely the instructors themselves who are able to offer a true penetration into literacy degrees in British secondary schools.


Findingss have shown that there has been an unprecedented rush in policy aimed at bettering educational and literacy criterions in secondary schools. Teacher marks, the infliction of new makings, the initiation of a more rigorous course of study and short?term support enterprises at a local and national degree have all been trialled ( either separately or at the same time ) within the past two authorities footings. The cumulative consequences have been slightly dissatisfactory with marks missed, quotas miss?allocated and – crucially – academic and literacy criterions non lifting as policy shapers would hold intended. Although acute to emphasize stray educational successes ( such as the addition in secondary pupils achieving Level 2 makings ) , there is a sense that the literacy enhancement policies in the UK are neglecting to turn to thecauseof the job, seeking alternatively to look merely at theconsequence. This is mostly due to ‘policy overkill’ on the portion of New Labour whereby instructors are encouraged to concentrate entirely on those pupils who are likely to give positive consequences in a quota and target?specific context at the disbursal of those who are most in demand of excess tutorial aid.

“Teachers are shouting out for flexibleness. They want to show their ain thoughts in learning and show that they have ownership of what they are learning. But why is [ the authorities ] still hanging on to these marks? Everything shows that they narrow the course of study, emphasis students out and do life harder. Nothing will alter if tabular arraies are still involved.” ( Curtis, 2004:3-5 )

Research has besides indicated that there has been a convergence of external sociological and cultural factors that have conspired to force literacy and linguistic communication in general into the public and political spotlight ( Dent, 2003 ) . These have been the realization of the ideals of multiculturalism and the challenges posed by the mass proliferation of digital and nomadic engineering – and the media in peculiar has been speedy to foreground these as factors in the hapless degree of literacy prevailing amongst striplings and immature grownups. However, on both of these counts, the chances forheighteningliteracy have all excessively frequently been overlooked in favor of the perceivedobstructionsthat cultural and technological advancement entails.

“Many pupils operate more comfortably on an unwritten plane than on a written one ; these electronic forums, so, supply a much needed span between unwritten and written discourse.” ( Harrison and Stephen, 1996:298 )

Furthermore, the UK’s hapless comparative literacy public presentation in comparing to states like Canada and Germany merely function to farther underline the demand to look elsewhere in order to see how, historically, literacy has proved to be a major concern for UK instruction professionals. Consequently, it is to the instructors themselves that future research must progressively turn to so as to understand the complexnesss involved in multidisciplinary attacks to literacy in a cultural clime characterised by inordinate province intercession. For case, greater liberty for instructors would enable literacy to be dealt with in an ad hoc footing, instead than in a text edition mode as is presently the instance. In this manner, new constructs such as peer?assisted acquisition can be put into pattern in order to heighten inclusion in the secondary school schoolroom while at the same clip liberating the instructor from the unneeded bonds of marks and quotas.


Understanding the relationship between hapless literacy, low self?esteem and low assurance is the key to grok how societal exclusion becomes embedded in coevals after coevals of people. The issue is hence non confined to instruction or secondary schools ; it concerns the effects of illiteracy for grownups who find themselves excluded from basic employment chances. The cyclical nature of the literacy inquiry is the ground why policy analysts are demanding reform of the educational construction in the UK in order to make an environment that wagess ( instead than ostracises ) the most basic of academic accomplishments. For every bit long as the province sees fit to offer wagess for those instruction governments, schools and instructors that can demo merelyon paperthat they have marginally improved literacy degrees, so a prolongation of the divide between the literate and the nonreader will mime the turning economic divide between the rich and the hapless.

First and first, hence, future guidelines for literacy policy in the secondary school must take into history the practical nature of the job ; that implementing the current batch of socially inclusive policies is making nil to turn to the root cause of inequality in the UK. There must besides be inquiry Markss raised with respects to the course of study and the manner in which this seems to preside over year?on?year academic accomplishments at the national scrutiny degree while at the same clip short-circuiting the demands of those secondary pupils who are most in demand of aid. This is a definition of ‘social exclusion’ and is a cursing indictment of the authorities instruction policy so far enacted.


Dent, S. ( Ed. ) ( 2003 )The Language ReportOxford: Oxford University Press

Edelsky, C. ( 1991 )With Literacy and Justice for AllLondon: Routledge Falmer

Harrison, T.M. and Stephen, T. ( 1996 )Computer Networking and Scholarly Communication in the Twenty First CenturyNew York: University of New York Press

Lewis, M. and Wray, D. ( Eds. ) ( 2006 )Literacy in the Secondary SchoolLondon: David Fulton

Powell, M. ( Ed. ) ( 1999 )New Labour, New Welfare State? : the Third Way in British Social PolicyBristol: Policy Imperativeness

Wray, D. ( 2006 )Teaching Literacy: Using Texts to Enhance LearningLondon: David Fulton

Selected Articles

Muschamp, Y. , Jamieson, I. and Lauder, H. ( 1999 )Education, Education, Education,in, Powell, M. ( Ed. )New Labour, New Welfare State? : the Third Way in British Social PolicyBristol: Policy Imperativeness


Alvermann, D.E. and Heron, A. ( 2001 )Literacy Identity Work: Playing to Learn with Popular Media, in,Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Volume 45, Number 2

Leland, C.H. and Kasten, W.C. ( 2002 )Literacy Education for the Twenty First Century: It’s Time to Close the Factory, in,Reading and Writing Quarterly, Volume 18, Number 1

Official Publications

The Moser Report( 1999 ) London: Department for Education

Literacy and Social Inclusion: The Handbook( 2006 ) Nottingham: Basic Skills Agency


Curtis, P. ( Tuesday 3 February, 2004 )Reform on the Cards for Literacy Initiative, in,The Defender: Education

Web sites

The Skills for Life Report( 2003 ) ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.nao.org.uk/publications/nao_reports04-05/040520.pdf

National Literacy Trust Website; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.literacytrust.org.uk/database/basicskillsupdate.html


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