HC Deb 24 April 1998 vol 310 c712W
Mr. Rowlands

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the level of literacy rates within each county and county borough in Wales. [38603]

Mr. Hain

In July 1997 The Basic Skills Agency published the results of a 1995 survey of people aged 16 to 64 which showed the following (see table) levels of reading skills in the old county council areas.

The available information for school pupils relates to performance in National Curriculum Tests in English and Welsh at age 7, 11 and 14. The latest information was contained in the National Curriculum results booklets published last November. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

The White Paper "Building Excellent Schools Together" set out our proposals for improving standards of literacy so that by the year 2000 between 60 and 70 per cent. of our 11 and 14 year olds should attain the expected levels in the core subjects including English and Welsh; and by the year 2002 this should be raised to between 70 and 80 per cent.

Good reading skills Average reading skills Very low1and low2
Clwyd 358 30 13
Dyfed 57 26 17
Gwent 35 45 21
Gwynedd 47 39 14
Mid Glamorgan 48 35 17
Powys 49 40 11
South Glamorgan 51 36 13
West Glamorgan 65 23 12
1 Serious difficulties with reading.
2 Relatively poor reading skills.
3Figures do not always add up to 100 per cent. because of rounding.