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Literacy Boost, Government Pledges £24 million for Children’s Reading

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More primary school pupils will benefit from high quality phonics and expert literacy teaching as part of new Government funding.

Over £24 million is set to be invested in building children’s literacy skills as the Government continues to support pupils’ recovery from the pandemic and work towards the target of 90% of primary children reaching the expected standard in literacy and numeracy.

Dyslexia Awareness Week

The announcement was timed to coincide with Dyslexia Awareness Week, with targeted literacy support playing a pivotal role in helping pupils with dyslexia develop all-important reading and writing skills.

The investment is part of the Government’s commitment to make sure every young person leaves school with a strong grasp of literacy and maths and sits alongside further targeted support such as the National Tutoring Programme.

Commenting on the announcement, the new Education Secretary, Kit Malthouse said: “If any child leaves schools without the ability to read and write properly, we have failed them.

“It is imperative that we support schools and pupils following the disruption of the pandemic. This funding will help us do that, but also help to instil a love of reading in young people that can last throughout their education and beyond.”

Headteacher and Strategic Lead at Little Sutton English Hub, Rachel Davis said: “The funding available to schools to implement validated phonics programmes has been wide reaching, particularly with the introduction of the Accelerator Fund programme last year.

“Our team of highly trained Literacy Specialists have worked with schools to deepen their understanding of the impact of phonics teaching.

“Crucially, our work in the English Hubs Programmes has given staff the ability to identify specific barriers to individual pupils’ learning and implement precise, swift intervention. This has helped children who find reading more difficult to achieve success. It has also greatly supported schools in their Covid Recovery programme.”

English Hubs Programme

The Government hopes that the funding will support the continuation and growth of the English Hubs Programme, enabling even more schools to embed high quality phonics teaching and benefit from the intensive support and access to literacy specialists.

The programmes will help build children’s confidence and ability to read and write, including for those with dyslexia, and provide a solid foundation for children to build upon so they can develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both information and for fun.

Building on the Accelerator Fund – which helps schools access specialist programmes of support for pupils and has so far seen £4 million distributed to over 450 schools – the Government hopes this funding will boost existing programmes in schools to support pupils’ learning to read.

English Hubs set up to promote literacy
34 English Hubs have been set up to promote a love of reading (Photo: New Wave English Hub)

Literacy and Phonics

Phonics approaches, when embedded in a rich literacy environment, are amongst the most effective methods of teaching children to read, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

This sits alongside the Government’s plans to support schools with early identification of need and intervention for children who require extra support, as clearly outlined in the Schools White Paper, SEND Review and Alternative Provision Green Paper.

Final Thought

Curia’s Dyslexia Commission in partnership with the British Dyslexia Association has looked at ways that a more tailored approach towards educational attainment for dyslexic children can be achieved. This money will no doubt help to achieve the Government’s ambition.

However, the devil is clearly in the detail and £24 million will not stretch far. As discussed in various inquiry sessions, the current universal approach toward phonics does not help improve educational attainment for all children with dyslexia. The Government should consider further pre-existing research outside of that produced by the EEF.

Supporting calls by the Education Select Committee Chair, government supply side reforms must also consider the need to invest further in the education of young people. Universal access to the latest technology, including hardware and software is needed now more than ever to ensure that educational attainment improves for all children living with dyslexia.

The first inquiry session of Curia’s Dyslexia Commission can be downloaded here

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