Millions 'cannot read well enough for karaoke'
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Millions cannot read well enough for karaoke

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  Millions of adults have such poor reading skills that they will struggle to keep up with karaoke lyrics at Christmas parties this year, government research has found.

Research for the Department for Education's Get On campaign found classic songs like Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" require the reading skills expected of an 11-year-old, lacked by more than 5.2 million adults. Other karaoke hits, such as "Angels" by Robbie Williams, pose a harder challenge, which nearly 18 million adults will fail.
                                                                               News by Independent  17 December 2006
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Black pupils were more likely to be taught in lower ability sets than other pupils - sometimes because of behaviour problems rather than their ability. They were also less likely to be chosen to take part in extra activities for gifted children. Eight per cent of black boys were identified as gifted and talented compared to an Aiming High school average of 13.4 per cent. "Although their results improved, black Caribbean boys remained the lowest achieving group," the report concluded. | Lord Adonis, the Schools minister, said: "We are pleased to see that Aiming High is working and big improvements are being made. But the findings also confirm challenges ahead. We fully recognise that we need to do more to tackle exclusion rates and the stereotyping of black children as underachieving, troublesome, or both." | Aiming High was launched in November 2003 to raise performance among black pupils in 30 schools with high proportions of underachieving black pupils. It provided money and support for these schools to tackle the factors which were holding these pupils back. | The researchers from Bristol and London universities and Birmingham local education authority found that black boys had recorded significant improvements over the past few years. The percentage of 14-year-old black boys achieving the right standard for their age at Aiming High schools increased by 13 percentage points in maths, 12 percentage points in English and 3.5 percentage points in science. These improvement rates were higher than the average for all pupils at the 100 schools in England which took part in Aiming High and above the national average for black boys. | But although the performance of black students in the project improved at GCSE, it was not enough to narrow the achievement gap. The percentage of black boysgetting at least five good passes at GCSE at Aiming High schools went up by 5.4 percentage points in 2003-05, with their female counterparts improving by 6.9 percentage points. However, these rates were lower than the average for Aiming High schools of seven percentage points, and lower than the national average for black pupils of eight percentage points. | Around 45 per cent of all black pupils in England now get five good GCSEs compared to a national average of 58 per cent. | Researchers found that there was "an overwhelming perception" among pupils and their parents that the biggest barrier to their academic achievement was the "unfair and inconsistent" application of discipline within the school. | A significant number of black pupils complained about the "invisibility" of black culture within the UK curriculum. An overwhelming majority of black pupils of all abilities felt that their teachers had lower academic expectations of them because of their colour. The researchers also found that many teachers were reluctant to embrace the Aiming High project because they believed that schools should adopt a "colour blind" ethos and should not single out pupils for special treatment because of their race
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