Children and young people today are growing up in a globalised world and are processing information from a wider variety of sources than ever before. They need the critical literacy skills to navigate the potential pitfalls when consuming news, particularly when using online sources and social media.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Literacy launched the Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools on 13 September 2017. This followed the publication of a new report from the National Literacy Trust, Fake news and critical literacy evidence review, which stresses that children and young people in England do not have the critical literacy skills they need to identify fake news.
To inform the commission, the National Literacy Trust launched surveys for primary and secondary school pupils in autumn 2017, to find out what children know about fake news and to measure their ability to spot fake news. We also launched a survey for teachers to gather information on where critical literacy skills are taught, what support teachers would need to improve the teaching of these skills and thoughts on the impact of fake news in the classroom. The surveys have now closed and we will publishing the results in summer 2018.
The commission also held an expert witness session on 6 February 2018. Lucy Powell MP, Chair of the Literacy APPG, chaired the meeting and questioned the witnesses along with Lord Jim Knight, Lord Graham Tope and Emma Hardy MP. We heard evidence from the following witnesses:
- Professor Sonia Livingstone OBE,
Professor of Social Psychology, Department of Media and Communications, LSE
- Ben de Pear, Editor, Channel 4
- Ben Hicks, Executive Director,
The Guardian Foundation
- Nicky Cox MBE, Editor, First News
- Liz Robinson, Head teacher,
Surrey Square Primary School, Southwark
- Karim Palant, Public Policy
Manager UK Facebook
- Ms Theisinger, Literacy
coordinator, Claycots School, Slough, London
- Anna Bassi, Editor, The Week
- Shiri Einav, Assistant Professor,
Faculty of Science, University of Nottingham
- Richard Addis, Chairman and
Editor in Chief, The Day
The final commission report will be launched in parliament in summer 2018 and include a series of recommendations for government and the education sector. We will also be publishing teaching resources and advice for parents.
The Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills in Schools has been launched by the APPG on Literacy in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, Facebook, First News and The Day.
We launched a call for evidence in February for organisations or individuals who would like to contribute to our commission. This has now closed.
You can access free teaching resources to use with your pupils. This includes a resource that takes you through the correct answers to the test questions in the pupil surveys and a booklet with ideas of how to embed critical literacy within your classroom. Further resources will be available in 2018.
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If you have any questions about the commission, please email email@example.com.