§ Mr. Gibb
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his assessment is of the likely effects of the teaching methods recommended by the recent960W Ofsted report National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies and the Primary Curriculum which encourage collaborative rather than passive learning on the disparity in achievement between boys and girls in the Key Stage Two literacy tests. 
§ Mr. Stephen Twigg
Ofsted's report confirms that the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategies have brought about an overall improvement in the quality of teaching of literacy and mathematics, and have successfully introduced teachers to a broader range of teaching approaches designed to motivate and engage pupils. Our new Primary Strategy will continue to support teachers in ensuring that their teaching reflects an appropriate balance of approaches, including both direct teaching and opportunities for collaborative learning, and is appropriate to the needs of their individual pupils. For example, all primary schools have recently received new guidance on strategies for improving pupils' speaking and listening skills, which was a need highlighted by Ofsted's report, and we will be making available in spring 2004 new support on improving boys' writing.