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Facts and Figures

Literacy in Norfolk

  • Primary school pupils in Norfolk are below the national average for reaching the expected standards of reading, grammar, punctuation and spelling.
    • 63% of pupils reached the expected standard for reading last year (below the national figure of 66%).
    • 66% of pupils reached the expected standard for grammar, punctuation and spelling last year (below the national figure of 72%).
  • A gap in our children’s literacy exists from the very beginning of their schooling: 2015/16 data shows that 77.9% of Norfolk pupils in Year 1 achieved the expected level in phonics, compared to 80.5% of Year 1 pupils nationally.
  • Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are even further behind in their literacy: 2015/16 data shows that 63.3% of Norfolk pupils with Free School Meal status achieved the expected level in phonics in Year 1, compared to 68.6% of pupils with Free School Meal status nationally.
  • Although GCSE results in Norfolk have improved in recent years, overall qualification levels of adults in Norfolk are below regional and national figures, and following a worsening trend.
  • Great Yarmouth and Norwich South are the two constituencies in Norfolk with the greatest literacy need, as identified by rankings produced by the National Literacy Trust and published for the first time in February 2017.
    • All bar two of the constituencies in Norfolk have one or more wards with significant literacy need (the two that don’t are South Norfolk and Broadland).

Reading improves life chances

  • 70% of pupils permanently excluded from school have difficulties with basic literacy.
  • Low literacy is related to lower employment rates and spells of unemployment – a link that this is particularly significant for women.
  • Literacy is positively related with better earnings: those with functional literacy skills earn on average 16% more than those with lower literacy skills.
  • Low levels is also associated broadly with poorer health and (in conjunction with educational levels) is linked to negative health behaviours.
  • Factors associated with crime – low attainment, negative experiences at school, exclusion, truancy and poor employment prospects – all hold a relationship with low literacy.
    • Poor literacy is prevalent amongst young offenders and the prison population: 48% of offenders in custody have a reading age at or below the expected level of an 11-year-old.