HL Deb 18 December 2003 vol 655 cc174-5WA
Lord Harris of High Cross

asked Her Majesty's Government:

For each of the past five years for which figures are available, what are the literacy rates for 10 year olds in—(a) England; (b) Northern Ireland; (c) Scotland. [HL312]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

Information is not available in the form requested. The nearest equivalent for England and for Northern Ireland is shown in the table below and relates to pupils at the end of key stage 2 (most 11 year-olds will be at the end of key stage 2).

Percentage of pupils in England and in Northern Ireland achieving level 4 or above in the key stage 2 English tests (teacher assessment in Northern Ireland, where there are no key stage 2 tests).

England Northern Ireland
1999 71% 69%
2000 75% 71%
2001 75% 73%
2002 75% 74%
2003 75% not available

England took part in the 2001 PIRLS "Progress in International Reading Literacy Study" which compared "reading literacy" of 10 year-olds along with 34 other countries (including Scotland). England ranked third out of 35. Northern Ireland did not take part.

I refer the noble Lord, Lord Harris, to the Scottish Executive for attainment information about Scotland as this is a devolved matter.