§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what examples of best practice from other countries in Europe he plans to introduce to enhance Government plans to encourage literacy throughout the UK. 
§ Mr. Miliband
The international 'Progress in Reading Literacy Study' (PIRLS), showed that our primary school pupils were the third most able readers in the world, and that England was the most successful English speaking country. This demonstrates the international success of our National Literacy Strategy which has led to dramatic improvements since its introduction in 1998. The number of 11-year-olds achieving the expected level for their age (Level 4) in English rose by 10 percentage points between 1998 and 2002.
The National Literacy Strategy has from its inception benefited from international research such as PIIZLS to support teachers. Important elements of its guidance to teachers, including Progression in Phonics, Grammar for Writing and Developing Early Writing, have drawn on experience in other countries. We will, of course, continue to refine the Strategy to ensure that it reflects international best practice and research evidence, so that all children fulfil their potential. We will shortly be publishing a strategy document on primary education, which will set out how we intend to build on the success of the NLS.