What hopes for teenage literacy?

I have recently seen a letter sent from a local school to the parents of a Year Eleven pupil concerning his entry for English examinations. The letter begins:

“The English Department at X School are committed to ensuring Y receives the best support and encouragement required to make progress in his studies and to achieve. In order to further that support and ensure Y gains the highest possible grades in his English studies, we aim to deliver a course which is tailored to suit Y’s needs and strengths.”

The first sentence contains two grammar mistakes: there is only one department and we are not told what is  to be achieved. This opening paragraph does nothing apart from stating the obvious; as a parent, I would find it patronising.

The letter has been signed by an “Assistant Headteacher – English” and has been printed over headers and footers.

What chance do Y and his classmates have?

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