§ Mr. Hancock
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what evidence is available to him as to the average reading ability of those leaving school at (a) 16 years and (b) 18 years.
§ Mr. Dunn
Surveys conducted for the assessment of performance unit between 1979 and 1983 in schools other than special schools show that at age 15 virtually all pupils are able to read in the sense that they can decode written words. Decoding is only one aspect of reading, however, and although there are no national figures for reading ability among 16-year-old and 18-year-old school leavers, there are indications (including results from local surveys of statutory school age pupils) that there is scope for improvement in standards of literacy.