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Large benefits, low cost

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In 1999 the Moser report (DEE 1999) identified one in five adults in the UK as being functionally illiterate. How do we ensure that the next generation of adults does not suffer the same fate? The National Literacy Strategy (introduced in September 1998) is a major initiative aimed at resolving these problems at primary school. This strategy involves a daily ‘literacy hour’, with a practical structure for time and class management and teaching objectives for each term. But does it work? The government has been criticised for failing to meet its own targets for tests at the end of Key Stage 2. Although economists have had much to say about the effect of increasing resources on pupil attainment, they have generally not considered the effect of changing the content and structure of how a subject is taught.

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