Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Getting Irate So That You Don't Have To

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Write To Complain

Many of the country's leading authors have written to Gordon Brown asking him to do something about literacy in schools.

Writers aren't exactly renowned for having entrenched, pro-Conservative views, so you might think it something of an indictment that 545 of them feel the need, after ten years of a Labour government, to write to the Prime Minister urging him to act to resolve what they clearly believe is a growing problem. And you'd be right. Frankly though, it's hardly surprising.

Despite the protestations of the education establishment to the contrary, literacy is not treated as a priority in today's schools. Womble On Tour's two children, both aged 11, routinely come home with work marked but spelling and grammatical mistakes uncorrected. Spelling lists are handed out but there is rarely a theme to them, such as the clear concentration on particular rules. When I toured local secondary schools a couple of months ago I found poorly worded notices (written by teachers) with apostrophes in the wrong place.

It's little wonder that according to a recent study by the OECD our children had fallen from seventh place in an international literacy league table to 17th in the space of just six years.

I'd like to congratulate (and thank) the likes of Nick Hornby, Joanna Trollope, Kate Mosse, Jackie Collins and Poet Laureate Andrew Motion for trying to motivate this woeful government into providing our children with some basic education. I just get the feeling that nothing's going to change.

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