Deprived schools giving teenagers easier texts and promoting low achievement

 Some secondary schools are failing teenagers from deprived backgrounds by giving them reading material for primary-age children, the head of Ofsted has warned.

Amanda Spielman said she had been angered to find schools setting lower expectations for children simply because of their background. It follows evidence that students as old as 14 are being given English texts designed for primary children.

In an interview with the Observer, Spielman said she had been driven “absolutely nuts” by evidence that some schools were assuming that disadvantaged children were “automatically low-achieving and need a watered-down curriculum”.
“We have [seen evidence this is a problem] in various ways,” she said. “One thing that has been pointed out in various contexts … recently is the tendency to use texts, even in secondary education, that only require a reading age of 10 or 11.
“Children can go all the way through secondary school and then go bump when they hit real demands in post-16 education or have aspirations for university, because they just don’t have the experience or practice of reading more demanding texts. Schools can think they are being helpful by adapting and providing relevant material. But in fact it hollows out education and means that disadvantaged children don’t get the experience that they absolutely should. The job of schools is to make sure that children get the things they won’t necessarily get at home.”
September 2018
Creative Teaching & Learning