Yorkshire Post launches literacy campaign as region lags behind rest of country

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THE SCALE of young people in Yorkshire being left behind because they fail to master basic reading and writing is revealed today.

A special report by The Yorkshire Post shows that at almost every stage of their education a child growing up in the region is less likely to reach the level of literacy expected of them than young people from anywhere else in the country.

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Today we launch the Turning the Page campaign to highlight the importance of getting young people to be able to read and write.

The latest official figures show that more than 2,000 pupils across Yorkshire left primary school with the reading and writing age of a seven-year-old and about 13,000 more were deemed to be not ready for their secondary education.

Education bosses have recognised this situation is unacceptable and launched a major improvement plan to get the region off the bottom of national league tables.

At a major summit, held in Leeds earlier this year, the 15 education authorities in the county called on everyone to play their part by declaring that education is everyone’s business.

Today The Yorkshire Post answers that call by launching our Turning the Page campaign.

Through this important campaign, which is being backed by acclaimed author Joanne Harris, we will not only examine why and where Yorkshire lags behind, but will also explore what more can be done to instil a love of reading and writing among children from a young age.

The Turning the Page campaign will also celebrate the best of Yorkshire with two new competitions recognising the work of schools, teachers and pupils.

Our teaching awards will celebrate the work being done to promote literacy by primary schools, secondary schools and community projects.

There will also be a short story writing competition for pupils up to the ages of 11, 14 and 16 with entries being judged by an expert panel.

The Yorkshire Post managing editor Nicola Furbisher said: “Is there anything more important than ensuring children can read and write, so they are able to make the most of their education to give themselves the best possible chances in life? Whatever the reasons for standards of literacy among Yorkshire pupils lagging behind the rest of the country, as a county we simply cannot accept it. The Yorkshire Post is proud to be joining the drive to raise standards in our schools. But the Turning the Page campaign is about much more than just league tables.

“It is about helping to inspire a love of reading and writing among children across the region.”

The campaign has been welcomed by the councillor who is leading a Yorkshire-wide drive to raise school standards in the county.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services, Coun Judith Blake, said: “I am delighted that The Yorkshire Post has picked up the challenge which was made at the Yorkshire and Humber Summit and is rolling its sleeves up to get involved to help raise aspirations and attainment of the region’s children.

“One of the clear messages from our summit was that young people learn best when they are interested and inspired and the approach The Yorkshire Post is taking will help to do this.”

The pupils who are being left behind in Yorkshire