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Northern Ireland languishes in literacy league

By Rebecca Black

More than one in six children in Northern Ireland do not reach the expected level of literacy by the time they leave primary school, a new report has found.

Some youngsters in P7 can be as much as six years behind classmates in terms of reading ability.

Education inequality is worse here than almost anywhere else in Europe, with only England and Romania behind us, according to the findings in the 'Read On. Get On.' report commissioned by charity Save the Children.

The highest levels of child literacy were found in the Netherlands followed by Croatia and Norway. But Northern Ireland languishes at the bottom of the European league table just behind the Republic of Ireland and only marginally ahead of eastern European countries such as Hungary and Bulgaria.

England is even further behind with only Romania faring worse.

Fergus Cooper of Save the Children said the gap between the best and worst readers in P7 "can be as much as six years in terms of their reading attainment level – that's huge".

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