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Wednesday, 01 April 2015

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Low take-up by Cumbrian schools for money to help reading

Cumbria has one of the lowest take-up rates for funding to help children learn to read.

The county is in the bottom 20 for local authorities claiming cash for teaching phonics in primary schools.

The figures have been released by the Department for Education as it launched an extension to the funding scheme, which had been due to finish at the end of last year.

In Cumbria, 56.25 per cent of the county’s 256 eligible schools have taken advantage of this money – meaning more than 100 have not claimed, the 14th lowest take-up in England.

A spokeswoman for the county council defended their record, saying more than half of primary schools had taken the funding for phonics products and training.

“We are working with schools on the back of the publication of this data to encourage greater take-up of the funding,” she added.

The scheme allows schools to claim up to £3,000 from the Government to allow them to buy products and fund training that will allow them to teach phonics, a system of learning spelling by sounds.

More than 11,000 schools in England claimed the cash between September 2011 and December 2012 but the extension means they can carry on claiming until October of this year.

Education minister Elzabeth Truss said: “Too many children are not reaching the expected levels of reading while at a young age. They do not catch up, and then struggle in secondary school and beyond. That is why we are extending financial support to schools so that no child slips through the net still struggling with this basic skill.

“More than 70 per cent of eligible primary schools have already benefited from additional financial support for phonics, helping five to seven year-olds to master the ability to decode and sound out new words.”


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