THE CoolerRuler:
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January 2013's Articles

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One in six children leaving primary school are unable to read to the required standard

Sue Porto, chief executive of children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, says: “It is a tragedy that after seven years of primary education, as many as one in six children leaving primary school are unable to read to the required standard. The consequences of this in later life can be horrendous, with 60 per cent of the prison population having difficulty with basic literacy.”

This is not just a tragedy - it’s a scandal, yet we continue to allow our educators to get away with it. Children are being failed day in and day out in our classrooms with their teachers working on a ‘tick box’ system while their pupils’ self-confidence falls. I know many teachers who feel that they have taught the lesson and it’s therefore up to the children to do the learning. If a child hasn’t learned it, then the fault lies with the child and not with the lesson. They expect the Special Needs Department to pick up the pieces for those children who have been identified as having Special Educational Needs and take no account at all of those who are struggling, but not badly enough to appear on the SEN register. The results are appalling: some of the children that I have taught have such low self-esteem that they are genuinely depressed.

Yet, when I telephone schools to tell them about The CoolerRuler, the reaction that I get in many cases is “Oh, we don’t have a reading problem in our school”. I despair.


How great to hear from Sharon, mother of a pupil whom I taught more than fifteen years ago. She emailed me to bring me up to date on her fantastic, dyslexic son and I am delighted to find that he is now training as a barrister. He has worked in journalism and on the Litvinjenko report and his mother generously credits me with having a hand in his success. Whilst obviously very flattered, I remember him as extremely bright and very hard working - so I think we all know where the credit lies - and the fact that he had great support from his mother is also very relevant.

I love all my pupils and nothing brings me greater happiness than to hear that they are doing well, turning dyslexia into the advantage that it should be. Well done to all of them.