Statistics Authority rebukes Education Secretary for 'shocking statistic' claim

Published: 18th Dec 2014

The UK Statistics Authority has rebuked Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, who claimed in Parliament last week that "... under the previous Labour Government one in three of our young people were leaving primary school unable to read and write. That is a shocking statistic."

The watchdog had sent her a letter setting the record straight on this exact point just a week earlier, after another Minister from her department made an almost-identical inaccurate claim during the party conference.

The Ministers referred to the 2010 results for children reaching level four in performance tests (which 11 year-olds are expected to reach). But over 90% of pupils had achieved level three or above in all the core subjects—which defined them as able to "read a range of texts fluently and accurately", write in a way which is "often organised, imaginative and clear", and they can "add and subtract numbers with two digits mentally and numbers with three digits using written methods".

This is not the picture of illiteracy Ms Morgan's words conjure up, and she should correct the record.

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