back to article Balls blames parents, computers for English literacy slide

Ed Balls has again weighed into parents who insist on bubblewrapping their children and leaving them in front of the computer, after research showed British kids have slipped down the world’s literacy league. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study released this week shows that English schoolchildren had slipped …


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  1. Ian


    As someone who works in IT support supporting Mr Balls before Blair left and he went to spend all his time with his best mate Brown in London instead of the (not so) lovely Normanton which was his constituency I'd like to point out that he spent as much time on his arse in front of his PC as anyone!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the problem's not that they're playing games...

    It's the games they're playing. Make them play zork, that'd do it. Too little mud and too few MUDs...

  3. Martin Gregorie Silver badge


    It's not computers doing the literacy damage: its TV.

  4. Risky


    I guess after 10 years they can't blame the tories any more, so the parent get blamed in general, and the univerities get blamed (and fined) if those coming out of the system don't make the grade.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What year was it that the last results came out in?

    I imagine we still had computer games then.... or maybe it was long enough ago that they were all text based so they did no harm.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised

    I work at a university and I can only confirm what he says even if I can't confirm the cause. Many first year undergraduates have written literacy skills that I think a 12 year old would be embarrassed to have. They write in phonetic slang, text speak, illegible contractions, ignore case-conventions and spelling and grammar is a complete bag-of-toss. Some of them I'd even class as functionally illiterate. Mind you this extends across the ages, my ten year old nephew's handwriting is at the stage of a 6 or 7 year old and no one at his school seems to be bothered by this. I don't think there is really much debate that literacy in the UK is diabolical, that we're a poorly skilled, ignorant nation. Of course what the causes are and how we tackle it is another question altogether.

  7. Billy Goat Gruff


    And there was me thinking the successively higher exam grades actually meant something. I feel as if my government has been misrepresenting the facts to me...

  8. Eponymous Cowherd

    "Education, Education, Education"

    All that needs saying, really.

  9. Paul R

    We can solve this by...

    ...bringing back the good old text adventures of the 80s. That way children get to play on the computer, and are forced to learn to read and write.

    Problem solved!

  10. Fraggle

    Who'd be 733t in a NuLabour world?

    "This study shows that our highest-achieving children are reading less, with children's busy days leaving less time for books at home."

    Typical Labour claptrap. Quite laughable that the the blame for falling league table performance (ahhh....the double-edged sword strikes!) is the fault of the children who actually *can* read!

    I think we need a new icon that represents government stupidity. A picture of John Prescott perhaps...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone else is playing games too...

    Why is it that while the whole world's playing more computer games, it's only English literacy that's decreasing?

    Becaws Inglish is a styoopedlie irregyoolur and owvercomplecaitid langwich and ryting it "properly" takes a ridicyoolus amount of effert. Inglish spelling cant servaiyv without that effert, unlaiyk uther langwitches.

    The measure of illiteracy is flawed because it is considers the modern emerging conventions as "wrong", when in fact it is the old conventions that are wrong, having been imposed by various Russian, German and French blue-bloods running overpriced schools. When the text-speak generation finally come to an agreement, we'll finally have a spelling system worth using.

    (An English teacher)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Combat & Space Invaders also to blame

    This old stuff has been bleating out for ages. I remember reading about all this (luckily I had the ability to do so, even back then) when I had my Atari 2600. Apparently pacman was going to cause everybody brains to turn to mush.

    just because the youth of today are rude lazy scumbags that everybody is too afraid to correct, it doesn't mean that [insert name of semi-recent computer game] is to blame.

    Mind you my granny used to to say the same about me.

  13. Ash

    Take off those rose tinted glasses!

    If kids didn't have computers and games consoles, they wouldn't read more. They'd go outside and socialise more, leading to better inter-personal skills.

    Hopefully then they won't go drinking White Lightning in the park and pissing on dying OAP's for fun when they're older.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A game helped me...

    I honed my spelling when I was younger playing Ultima Online by asking my guild mates to correct me

  15. Anonymous Coward

    ‘Balls blames parents, computers for English literacy slide’

    I'm sorry, but constructions like "parents, computers" aren't helping the cause of literacy much, either. I think I'm the last one I know of who uses full, grammatically-correct sentences not only in emails but, where possible, in mobile text messages too. It is simply laziness, and even the BBC is culpable.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    We don't need no ejookayshun

    U C th parents jus don gv a sht.

    Th PC n th TV r jus free baby sitters.

    The kids don't believe that working hard at school will benefit their lives. All they need to succeed is to be picked for the next Big Brother or marry a footballer and be famous.

    Welcome to the me, me, me society.....ooops no that's not right

    "There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families"

    Cheers Maggie, I think we've dispensed with the families too though.

    As thou sow, so shall ye reap...

  17. Spleen

    as any fule kno

    @Risky: Don't be too sure. When Call Me Dave asked Brown yesterday (paraphrasing) "You've exposed half the country to identity fraud and you've accepted money from dodgy property developers funneled through third parties against their will, demonstrating amazing incompetence and corruption, why are you so shit?" Brown's devastating response was "20 years ago interest rates were at 15%!" Not kidding. Since Labour's political raison d'etre (more money for less work = happier society) is discredited and irrelevant in the global era, blaming the Tories is what they do in place of political thought.

    @AC: How do handwriting age standards work anyway? If I'm used as a standard (and I could read at 2 and write shortly after, so I think my literacy is pretty good):

    Six-year-old handwriting, when you're being rigorously drilled, is the gold standard - everything straight, everything exactly between the lines, small letters go up to the half-way line and tails go down to the half-way line below and no further;

    10-year-old handwriting is slightly worse as the lessons begin to fade and what you write is being marked more for content than style;

    13 year-old handwriting degrades further as you think more about getting your homework done in time to watch TV than readability;

    16 year old handwriting becomes increasingly spidery as writing beautifully means running out of time and failing your exams;

    and after 18, when you write in longhand it's almost always to take notes that are solely for your own use, with only occasional exams and birthday card greetings to worry about writing legibly. Every letter can and should be joined up on both sides, lines are for conformists, and never take your pen off the page during a word. (I can and do write the letter 'x' in one figure-skating stroke joined up on both sides, for which I am probably liable under the Geneva Convention).

    I distinctly remember that when I was about ten (definitely still at primary school) my parents made me look at my exercise books from when I was six and compare my handwriting. It wasn't favourable to the ten-year-old me. I think your nephew is doing all right.

  18. Steve

    Lowered expectations

    When I was doing teacher training, I was amazed to find myself teaching a top set of Y10 students things that I had learnt around Y8/9. Maybe if teachers weren't spending twice as much time filling out paperwork as they spend in the classroom then these kids might have had a chance to learn something other than how to hit the governments arbitrary targets.

    The last time they realised a new English curriculum, there were head teachers who refused to pass it on to their staff on the grounds that the grammar and spelling didn't meet the standard required to pass GCSE English.

  19. Ross Luker
    Thumb Down

    Must be the parent's fault...

    ...despite the fact that my 6-year old's teacher hasn't listened to her read for over a month - apparently teaching to read is solely our responsibility...

  20. Mog

    parents, computers

    It's a headline, you pompous asshat. It's how they work.

  21. RichardB

    Surely we should look to schools

    It seems to have become fashionable to blame anything except schools and teachers for declines in academic acheivement. Computers, parents, booze.

    So I must ask, what are schools for if it is not their job to drive the academic quality forward? If we accept that it is afterall their duty, then we must naturally take the conclusion that it _is_ their fault.

    Perhaps we might draw a correlation between the rise of the educational and behavioural psycologists and the quick diagnosis of 'special needs' rather than the creation of an intellectually stimulating environment? The lax attitude to standards both academic and behavioural (teachers in jeans anywhere?) may also play some part.

    I don't know about you but reading some of the large print books that 10 - 14 year olds have to read in school made me want to slit my wrists, god knows how they manage to pay attention with that dross.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    When I were a a lad

    When I was at school we learned to struture things, like sentences, paragraphs. Conjugate words etc.

    I had to write essays and recite them.

    Fifteen years later and I have a friend who is a teacher. His school has a course worth 4 GCSE's in sports science.

    one question worth on the final exam.

    "Name a piece of gym equipment that could lead to an injury if used incorrectly."

    The national curriculum is teaching them to learn and think independently (but no the subject matter), the league table is making them get spoon fed and that is winning.

    Blame the computer but it is ill thought out policy and competition for customers, together with standards at home.

    Who else saw the article on 25% of people lick the plate clean after dinner. If they aren't taught decent things at home and the school is pants, what choice is there.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    You're not the only one.

    I like to write proper sentences. I'll write colloquially too, where it has an effect. Predictive text actually makes it easier to write full words than abbreviations.

    To the English teacher who thinks letting the language *de*volve is a good thing: please stop teaching kids. The whole "how you spell or write doesn't matter" approach is at the root of the problem. You of all people should realise that the richness of English is derived in part from its irregularity.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: comma separators in headlines

    "constructions like "parents, computers" aren't helping the cause of literacy much"

    Quite so, and this is one where you really can blame the Americans. This construction is standard English in the States, used by headline writers of all stripes and even the "proper" news on NPR.

    It makes me grind my teeth every time I hear it, because it's purely about reducing word count for its own sake and really does make it hard to understand the sentence. My own theory is that the Strunk & White edict about conciseness has been taken too far, and this is not the only example by any means.

    -- An Ex-Pat Brit

  25. James

    Why are we worried?

    Why are we worried about this? After all, as the advert says: "The Clever - Stupid balance is restored".

    All those kids in Africa and China and other parts of the world that are clamouring for education, education, education will get it and learn faster and better than our wannabe obese kids.

    I'm sure they'll treat us all kindly when we're slaving away in large call centres to serve their markets.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    ‘Balls blames parents, computers for English literacy slide’

    "I'm the last one of whom I know", surely ??

  27. Mark Johnson

    How times have changed...

    It's such a shame. Many years ago when I was young, my older brothers would rush upstairs to their bedroom straight after school to get a quick fix of their favourite book before tea. Not good for the eyes though; it sent them blind after a few years.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Comma seperators and poor teachers

    Pompous asshat? Actually, you may be right on that, but you're wrong on "that's how they work" - it's a relatively recent phenomenon.

    @ Duncan Ellis - thanks for that. Using a comma in a way contrary to established grammatical rules makes for a sentence that's hard to understand, because a comma is a SEPERATOR, not a JOINER. Is that clear to Pompous Asshat man?

    And as for those who say that the degrneration of the language ought to be praised - how so? Do you not understand that the basic grammatical functions of the language are there to aid communication, not just to make your tiny brains overheat at school? If we all spoke and wrote the language however we felt, we'd never understand one another.

    And finally: "When I was doing teacher training, I was amazed to find myself teaching a top set of Y10 students things that I had learnt around Y8/9."

    'Learnt' aside, it's sad that there are kids of 18 or 19 lacking basic education that I had gained (in some cases) almost a decade beforehand. There's something seriously wrong with the modern system, and it goes well beyond simple l33t sp33k and TXT4U, because we had those about fifteen years ago and yet I still have a well-grounded basic education. Lowering the standards may get a higher average pass mark on the paperwork, but it leads to a nation of undereducated morons. 'Nuff said.

  29. bambi


    Maybe if Mr Balls didnt keep changing the way that literacy is taught to youngsters every couple of years and let teachers teach we might have a different story.

    Maybe, this is an outside chance here, but maybe if parents read with thier children rather than assuming that the only place a child gets educated is in school kids might be able to read C-A-T or spell thier own name by the time they start school.

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Anonymous Coward


    Bambers man u is wel rong!, you dos not now wat tpo writ man and how it to be handled by new gen like wot we are you old tenthruplte!

    Is like dis man: is how you must get ya word across to teh masses, big up shauny D!

    Yo start dis party! ->


    <-Hey dayt sh1t be good ma man!

    Dem chineses and dem yindiyans is gonna hav 2 learn da new lang o da UK , straight fore they get them workng ears on dem phones!i

  32. Alastair
    Paris Hilton

    @ BBC is Culpable

    Er. You haven't properly declared the subject in your sentence.

    'I think I'm the last one I know of'

    Is clumsy as you haven't clearly specified what "one" is.

    'I think I'm the last PERSON I know of'

    would be better unless you're a "parent,computer" hybrid thingy (One assumes the author means 'parents & computers' ?)

    If we can all convince McDonalds to grind contraceptive pills into their Big Mac's then the problem of illiterate chavs will go away. As will they.

    soz mate but yeah peace aht innit nah maaaaan cahhhhhhhhhhhhnt.

    (im from North Kent - this is how kids talk now apparently)

    pps. You don't need a comma between "much" and "either".

    ppps. 'asshat' is my new favored insult.

    ppps. Feel free to go shit-crazy on my inconsistent use of single / double speech marks.

    Sorry. I'll shut up now.

  33. Ferry Boat

    I blame Microsoft

    All kids should be forced to use command line only Linux until they are 18 years old. That'll learn 'em.

  34. Kurt Guntheroth

    Games are here -- deal with it!

    Videogames, movies, TV, and other compelling media are here, and they aren't going away. People who would spend all their time reading if it was the only game in town now divide their time, spending less on reading.

    So what?

    Do movies not tell a story? Can we not learn from, discuss, and formally criticize thes other media? Videogames can be immersive, allowing the gamer to participate in ways a linear text cannot. Can we gain nothing at all from this experience? You can share a book with 30 children, and let them have 30 isolated experiences. Put them in an on-line game together, and they can have a shared experience.

    Why musteducation be locked into the 16th century, stuck with static text and static paintings? Why are we not embracing these modern media for pedagogical purposes?

    What would the world be like if adults were talking to children about what makes a videogame a great work? What if children had to comment on the themes and subtext of violent or socially irresponsible media? What would videogames be like if they were subject to appraisal for their literary merits, not just by stuffy adults, but also by children? Would children be so eager to escape to a videogame if they had a paper due on it for next Monday?


  35. Richard Mason
    Thumb Up

    Games can actually help

    I used to do the IT support in a school many years ago. We had a large Special Needs department in the school, and a large number of dyslexic children who had trouble both reading and writing. The Special Needs department had a number of PCs which the children could use at lunchtimes, and to give them something fun to play with, I installed Tetris on the machines.

    After a few months we found a number of the children were making better progress with their reading and writing skills, and after some investigation we discovered it was mainly the children who were spending their lunchtimes playing Tetris. The perceived view was that playing the game was helping the kids hand-eye coordination and subsequently their reading and writing.

    We didn't do any sort of test which would be considered to give qualified scientific proof that this is what was happening, but it did seem to us to be helping.

  36. Thomas Vestergaard

    Kids these days...

  37. John A Blackley

    Antique learning

    I was blessed/unlucky enough to get through school while learning by rote was still in vogue. When I was in my final years at university, I noticed the graduates from our local teacher training college and began comparing them - unfavourably - with that pack of angels, demons and mere mortals who had taught me.

    Since those days, I've seen every - every - British government meddle, muddle and mess-around with teaching standards and curricula in the UK (most of the 'changes' appearing to be for populist and cosmetic reasons).

    Balls is partly right (mark this occasion well). Children whose parents have no interest in reading will perform less well than children (often in other countries) whose parents are well-read. However, Balls is also guilty of the political myopia so popular in the UK today. The current lack of enthusiasm for reading doesn't have its roots in the popularity of computer games. It goes back at least four decades and has been fostered by successive governments more interested in popularity than in providing an education system for the citizens of the UK.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    re: If you're going to correct people...

    I don't believe it, two oppertunities to mention Skitt's law in the same day. Now where's my jacket....

    (ps: please don't correct my spelling. Look up Skitt's law on wikipedia if you don't get it)

  39. Cameron Colley

    Education nowadays sin't about teaching.

    Education in the UK today is about people struggling to implement the governments latest marketing drive into their syllabus.

  40. The Other Steve

    Sodding Typical

    Collectively, the current, and indeed previous, Labour government needs to seek some counselling to help them out with their complete inability to take any kind of responsibility for anything at all.

    OK, parents undoubtedly have to take their share of responsibility for their kids, but by the same chalk, government should take responsibility for their education policies, which are apparently not effective.

    As for the questionable effect of video games, I spent countless hours playing Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy and the like as a youngster but I also adore reading and going outside, and always have.

    It's going to take a little more than whining from yet another Labour minister desperate to shirk personal responsibility for a failing policy to convince me that there is any kind of correlative relationship between exposure to computers and gaming and a lack or literacy.

  41. Chris G Silver badge

    @ John A Blackley

    You are absolutely correct in your comment. I don't suppose anyone in the government reads the Reg' and pays any attention to it?

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  43. skeptical i

    Why Johnn(y|ie) can't read

    "Is our children learning?" -- GW Bush

    I can't speak to the situation in England, but apparently too many kids in Amurka are entering school totally unprepared to learn (i.e., don't know the alphabet, numbers, and other basics), so teachers have to "waste" time bringing the kids up to this minimal standard instead of doing real teaching. I don't know how we got to this particular "Point B" (Do parents not care about their kids' education? Are they stretched too thin from working two or three jobs to make the time to prepare their kids to learn?), only that we are here and if we want to stop swirling further down the bowl we need to solve this problem.

    On the flip side, given how much "other" stuff teachers are expected to do (e.g., be surrogate parents, psychologists, referees, dispensers of meds, de facto agents of INS/ "la migra", extensions of Child Protective Services, and solvers of every other societal problem), I am surprised they can do any real teaching at all. But with all the standardized tests being administered (and therefore taught to, lest the school or district lose education funding), this might not be perceived as too great a loss.

    Throw into this mix parents who are all- too- eager to sue school districts and/or get teachers fired for having the audacity to teach real sex education, acceptance of diversity, or anything that might by any far stretch be construed to infringe on the parents' "religious" beliefs, insultingly low pay (for a nation that so piously wrings its hands over the plight of The Children, we have a bizarre knee- jerk aversion to allocating the resources necessary to properly grow "our most precious resource"), and inadequate facilities (except in the millionaire districts, where schools have proper heating/ cooling, rest rooms that are not horrifying, and other such niceties), are we truly surprised that our nation's best and brightest tend to avoid teaching careers? (Spied on the outdoor announcement board of my neighborhood elementary school on the day of statewide testing: "Eat good. Sleep good. Achieve." It was up for at least eight hours before someone corrected it.)

    But, one may ask, what's the point of teaching kids any kind of useful skills when most jobs more complicated than flipping burgers, cleaning toilets, or landscaping are going overseas? Unless one is aiming at high- level professional jobs that have a high probability of staying in- country (e.g., doctors, lawyers, professors ... although these might join the migration to Bangladore as technology advances), does the average kid see much reason to fill her/his brain with "book larnin'"?

    Amidst all the systemic failure, video games are but a small part of the problem (and only for kids who spend all gosh- darned day playing them instead of varying their entertainment diet to include real reading, outdoor activity, sports, &c). However, since marketers and the companies who hire them tend to like their customers to be a little on the dim side, and since our Congress is generally 0wn3d by these companies, I don't foresee much positive change on the education front any time soon.

    Such is the view from here. End rant.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ re: If you're going to correct people... / Skitt's law

    Sinfest. A truly brilliant webcomic. I recommend it to you all.

  45. Roger Brown

    off track....suggestions?

    Okay, the government's a joke (systemically) and the 'education' system's equally bad. Time to replace both of them......actually, that's long overdue.

    With what do we replace them?

    Think of why the education-system came into being: to keep illiterates from falling into the machinery or damaging the machinery during the Industrial Revolution. After that, the theory was that the system was supposed to prepare young people to go into businesses/industry. That might have worked in an era of low-technological change.

    Today, only the young are adapting to technology; the older crowd (I'm 44) is still working out how to keep up with it, keep a job/house and pay for the younger crowd to do their thing.

    The idea that education prepares anyone for going into the job is now almost a joke as the environment changes while the student's in school training for they have to re-learn everything that they learnt in the first two years before they are fit to work.

    Most of the government labour has no idea of what technology is about or how to use we've recently witnessed; they're certainly not going to keep up the upgrading-race, nor pay to retrain people when the newest change happens.

    I don't have any answers yet; I might have a direction to start looking into, though.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "Name a piece of gym equipment that could lead to an injury if used incorrectly."

    Suzanne Dando?

    Anyone seen my jacket?

  47. steve
    Paris Hilton

    Teachers aren't allowed to teach......

    This is true. A lot of teachers complain endlessly about the fact that they are told what to teach and to what level. Most children (or even adults younger than myself) don't know what a verb is or a noun. They have never been taught (tought? teached? learned?) grammer.

    Then again, a lot of teachers only want the money. I heard two teachers talking about a student. The student is bright and very intelligent. She asks questions about the subject matter because she wants to understand the subject, not just learn it. The teachers response?

    "She's not going to do very well on this course if she asks questions"

    Where to lay the blame.......

  48. michael

    edicuation policy

    <stands on soapbox>

    in my not so humble opinion the only to get any improvments in edcuation in to hire more teachers the best way to teach is to make class sizes as close to 1 on 1 as posible the main reasion prvite schools give a better education is they class sizes are 1 to 10 or 1 to 20 not 1 to 40 and all the faffing around this gover ment has been doing with policeys is just confusing and costly and distracting

    <gets of soapbox and gets coat>

    *ps yes I know my spelling and grammer sucks I am deslexic

    **pps the irony of dyslexica being the most dificulty word to spell is not lost on me eather

  49. Dam

    Re: a game helped me


    "I honed my spelling when I was younger playing Ultima Online by asking my guild mates to correct me"

    Hey, the world's small ain't it ^^

    Can't say how glad I am I have chosen english servers in MMORPGs rather than french ones, here.

    Ze french arr' very lazy at learning languages.

    PS: Ultima Online ARE BELONG TO US, this game rocked.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The anonymous teacher speaks


    "I don't know about you but reading some of the large print books that 10 - 14 year olds have to read in school made me want to slit my wrists, god knows how they manage to pay attention with that dross."

    Nail, head... bullseye!

    This is the vicious circle of curriculum development.

    Kids get bored and stop paying attention in class, so exam pass-rates falling.

    Curriculum planners see pass-rates falling and conclude that the questions are too hard, so they make the courses easier.

    Easy classes are boring, so kids stop paying attention in class, and pass-rates fall.

    Curriculum planners see pass-rates falling... [etc ad nauseum]

    The Scientific American has an article on a study that looked at similar issues:

    (Of course, when the study started school work was hard enough that only the "smart" kids got bored...)


    "To the English teacher who thinks letting the language *de*volve is a good thing: please stop teaching kids. The whole "how you spell or write doesn't matter" approach is at the root of the problem. You of all people should realise that the richness of English is derived in part from its irregularity."

    It's *E*volving. Devolution is "going back", and text-speak is new. 'Twould be devolution were we to seek, through contrivance of our educators, a return to the glorious English of our finest pensmiths.

    And as for my teaching, do not concern yourself with it. I teach kids (non-natives) how to write as would be expected of them. Although I disagree with the current form of English, that is the form my students want and need, so that is the form I teach. I don't see a conflict there.

    (The Anonymous Teacher)

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  52. Shinobi87

    @ Richard Mason

    So you admit to installing Tetris on several computers?! I'll see you in court!

    on a serious note I’m Dyslexic and when I was younger it hit me very hard, literally my only skill was that my reading age was slightly higher than the other kids in class. I'm the first to admit I have poor: spelling & grammar and computational skills, its part of who I am and even years and years of private support will never fix the fundamental flaws in how my brain functions. But I have to agree with you and what others have said. Games, Movies and TV have not taken away my will to learn nor have they hindered my educational development, if anything they make me want to read more. If I see say a film i like, perhaps I will read the book it’s based on etc. on the other hand however I must agree that schooling is pretty disgraceful. If the education system was effective I wouldn’t have needed external Dyslexia tutoring for the majority of my school life. Teachers seem to not care or look down on people who struggle. I've had my fair share of it from them, some even saying that Dyslexia didn't exist, that i was lazy, or that it doesn’t affect things like spelling. Well I can tell you besides all that crap with absolutely no special allowances in my GCSE exams i got a B/B for English and hell if i had been allowed extended time maybe it would have been higher (however you had(not sure if you still do) to be 8 reading/writing levels behind to qualify). All in all I think the curriculum, shoddy government standards and lack of support for struggling students is to blame

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