A report out by Save The Children has shown that poor children in the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket area had below average reading skill by the age of 11.
MP David Ruffley has written to Suffolk County Council’s director of children and young people Sue Cook asking what measures are currently in place for literacy and what the county is doing to improve the situation.
The report, Reading England’s Future, is based on figures between 2010 and 2013 and according to Mr Ruffley shows that just 66 per cent of students eligible for free school meals were reading well by age 11 compared to the national average of 74 per cent. Also only 44 per cent of children on free school meals were reaching good early language development by the age of five. The national average was 46 per cent.
The report places the Bury St Edmunds constituency in the botttom 25 to 50 constituencies for those reading well.
Executive head at Hardwick Middle School, Geoff Barton, said: “Reading provides the cornerstone of a child’s further success. It’s striking how much more of an issue this seems to be in rural areas, where access to bookshops and libraries is more challenging.”
Ms Cook said Mr Ruffley would receive a full response: “The figures being quoted are historic and present the previous picture of Key Stage 2 across the county. We are seeing an improving trend across the county over the last year.”