§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of children of parents in the professions are unable to read as compared with the children of unskilled workers; and what action he is taking to increase reading ability among children of parents in the lower socioeconomic groups.
§ Miss Margaret Jackson
Information to answer the first part of the Question 649W is not collected by the Department. My right hon. Friend recognises the importance of improving reading standards amongst those who, for whatever reason, are not reaching their full potential. The Bullock Report pointed to a number of ways in which reading standards could be improved, many of them involving no additional expenditure; the prime responsibility here lies with local education authorities and schools. But the Department's Assessment of Performance Unit is looking at ways to provide a new national monitoring system, as suggested by the Bullock Report, so that the extent of this problem can be reviewed regularly.