Advanced grammar: cloze test

Failure in basic school lessons haunts adult underclass for life.

Low levels of literacy and numeracy have a damaging impact almost every aspect of adult life, according a survey published yesterday, offers evidence a developing underclass.

Tests and interviews with hundreds people born in a single week in 1958 graphically illustrated the handicap of educational underachievement. The effects were seen unemployment, family breakdown, low incomes, depression and social inactivity.

Those who left school at 16 poor basic skills been employed up to four years less good readers the time they reached 37. Professor John Bynner, of City University, who carried the research, said that today’s unqualified teenagers would face even greater problems because the supply manual jobs had dried up.

Almost one five of the 1,700 people interviewed for yesterday’s report had poor literacy skills and almost half struggled numeracy, a proportion in line other surveys for the Basic Skills Agency. Some could not read aloud a child’s book, and most found difficulty following written instructions.

Poor readers were twice likely to be on a low wage and four times as to live in a household where neither partner worked. Women this position were five times likely to be classified depressed, while both sexes tended feel they had no control their lives, and to be less trusting others.

Those low literacy and numeracy skills were seldom involved any community organisation and much less likely others to have voted a general election. There had been no improvement the level of interviewees reporting problems the sample was surveyed the age 21.

Alan Wells, the agency’s director, said: “The results emphasise the dangers we face of developing an underclass excluded people, of work, increasingly depressed and often labelled themselves failures. There is a vicious circle marginalisation, the dice loaded these people and their families.”