Greater support is needed for teachers to meet the literacy requirements demanded by the new national curriculum, a report published today has claimed.
Almost a quarter of teachers surveyed by the National Literacy Trust said they did not feel confident teaching the literacy set out in the new national curriculum.
The curriculum requires all subject teachers to develop pupils’ spoken language, promote reading for enjoyment and emphasise accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation in written work.
A total of 95.2 per cent of those surveyed said it is their job to teach and promote literacy, but 51.7 per cent said they feel a lack of knowledge is a barrier to improving pupils’ literacy in their school.
Jonathan Douglas, National Literacy Trust director, said the findings “highlight a gap” between what is required of teachers and what they feel able to deliver.
He added: “Literacy must now be taught by every teacher even if their specialism is in maths or science. A changing education landscape over recent years means that some teachers will not have been trained to teach literacy and other teachers may not even have learnt literacy at school themselves but are now required to teach it.”
He urged schools to invest in continued professional development (CPD) of staff to increase teachers’ confidence and awareness of appropriate strategies.
The National Literacy Trust also said CPD should be a priority for the new Royal College of Teachers which will be responsible for accrediting standards of evidence-based practice in CPD.
Liz Robinson, headteacher at Surrey Square Primary School, London, said the responsibility for teachers across all subjects to teach literacy skills “shouldn’t be seen as a separate task, but part of the work they are already doing”.
“Teachers need to be more confident in their own abilities to teach literacy as they know more than they think,” she added.
“Whole school approaches to improving literacy, such as CPD, can boost teachers’ confidence and create consistency across subjects so that pupils can make a connection and are aware of the importance of literacy skills in all their lessons.”
More than 2,000 education professionals from 112 UK schools took part in the study.