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Saturday, March 21, 1998 Published at 12:35 GMT


Schoolchildren to hit books over summer
image: [ Thousand of pupils could sign up to summer schools ]
Thousand of pupils could sign up to summer schools

Extra lessons will be on the timetable this summer for some of Britain's eleven-year-olds.

Education Secretary David Blunkett :'It's fun and constructive" (0'23")
The government is planning an 11-fold increase in its summer school programme to help children as they enter secondary education.

Thousands of pupils will give up part of their holidays to help improve their reading skills.

Last summer several hundred youngsters spent part of their holidays at summer schools - this summer the figure will be several thousand.

The government claimed striking success for the first 50 literacy summer schools which ran last year.

John Bangs, NUT :'Summer Schools must remain voluntary for teachers' (4'08")
At the Secondary Heads Association conference in Birmingham, the Education Secretary David Blunkett said: "Children arriving at secondary school must have a firm foundation in the basic skills.

"That is why we have set a target that by 2002, 80% of 11-year-olds will have reached the required standard in English and 75% in maths."

At the moment some 40% move on without having achieved the basic standards in reading and writing.

And as well as literacy, there are plans for some 40 summer schools to help children with their sums.

This concentration on the three R's is at the heart of government policy.

New guidance has just been issued on what children should be able to do.

[ image: The Three 'R's are at the heart of government policy]
The Three 'R's are at the heart of government policy
For instance seven-year-olds should be able to read and spell the days of the week and know the names and addresses of their schools.

Several other tasks also make up the basic requirements such as memorising a list of 119 spellings.

From next September all pupils will face a literacy hour to make sure they learn the basics of reading and writing.

However the summer schools are a stop-gap measure for those pupils who are already in the system and who would miss out on reaching the new standards before secondary school.

In all there will be around 600 schemes paid for by 4m of government money and another 1m from the private sector.

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