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Reading in KS3: Challenge, impact, outcomes

This white paper aims to explore the KS3 landscape and discuss the broader implications of developing an effective reading culture.

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What are the shared challenges currently facing KS3 educators?

Early in 2023, Reading Solutions UK collected over 100 survey responses from educators responsible for delivering the KS3 English curriculum across the UK.

This included Classroom Teachers, Key Stage Coordinators, Heads of Literacy, and Senior Leaders (Assistant Principals/Headteachers/Heads of Departments, etc.), specifically focusing on transition, skill gaps, challenges, priorities, and reading strategies.

White paper key results:

Why the need for this research?

In September 2022, Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman reported that the 2022 KS2 SATs tests showed that nearly 175,000 students did not meet the expected standard (EXS) in reading. This meant that around a quarter of all Year 7s had a reading age below 11. This number has since grown as the 2023 national SATs results showed students who met the EXS in reading was 73%, down from 75% in 2022.

As the resellers of the online reading development programme, Reading Plus, we know first-hand, through conversations with our partner schools, the need for solutions to accelerate reading gains, close the gap, and encourage reading for pleasure.

One of our core values is making a difference, and we do this through research and sharing best practices. Therefore, we wanted to explore today’s teaching landscape, hear teachers’ views on the claims and solutions offered by the Government, and share proven strategies. In this white paper, we investigate:

  • The legacy of The Wasted Years (a Government report commissioned by then Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, released in 2015) expressed concerns that students in Years 7 – 9 were often given significantly less focus in terms of teaching, curriculum planning, and intervention.
  • The promise of the Government white paper Opportunity for All (released in 2022).
  • The implications and impact of the intervening eight years on teachers.



Lizzie Rhodes

National Lead for Student Inclusion, Secondary phase at Oasis Community Learning.


Gaurav Dubay

Director of English at Windsor Academy Trust and Evidence Lead in Education (St. Matthew’s Research School). At the time of this white paper’s research, Gaurav was Head of English at King Edward IV Academy Trust.



Download Reading Solutions UK’s latest white paper Reading in KS3: Challenge, impact, outcomes.


If you would like to discuss our findings further, please contact our Managing Director Ian –

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