More help needed for struggling children

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The Vanguard Centre, in Cosham, where work is taking place to transform it into a new school for the city.

Building work begins on new £3.2m Cosham school

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PENNY Mordaunt will be discussing the lack of support for struggling schoolchildren in Portsmouth at a debate in parliament next Thursday.

The MP for Portsmouth North will draw on local exam statistics and evidence from teachers and families when she makes her presentation to the backbench business committee at the House of Commons.

She said: ‘Debates about schools always focus on how much money is being spent on them, but I think we need to address why the UK has slipped in education performance, in particular in the sciences and maths – and that means taking a good look at what happens in classrooms.

‘I’ll be using examples from Portsmouth where there are cases of children who have fallen four years behind their reading age but nothing has been done about it.

‘We need to get these children, as well as the more able pupils, extra support.’

Miss Mordaunt said one local secondary headteacher told her there were large percentages of children joining their school unable to construct a sentence.

She said: ‘The headteacher explained to me if you can’t write a sentence you have a five per cent chance of getting a GCSE.

‘Secondary schools in Portsmouth have made some progress with these children, but there’s still a lot that needs to be done.’