Education Secretary Gavin Williamson
Learners First English Hub @ Whiston Worrygoose
As an established Teaching School Partnership and now as an accredited English Hub, our work remains driven by the desire and unwavering determination to improve educational outcomes and transform life chances for all children and young people. As a vehicle through which we can further ‘connect people and promote excellence’, the Learners First English Hub supports school improvement through engagement and collaboration, particularly within areas serving the most disadvantaged.
Our commitment is to provide the highest quality of expertise and support to schools, without obligation, fear or favour. Through the English Hub, we use the expertise of high performing lead schools and literacy specialists with proven track records of delivering effective and sustainable early literacy teaching to support this endeavour. Ambition, vision and strategic investment underpin relationships built on trust and shape a motivation to provide constructive, distinctive and comprehensive support to improve and promote:
- Standards of reading
- Early language
- Literacy teaching
- Active participation and engagement in the work of the English Hub.
English Hub Background Information
In the spring of 2018, the Department for Education (DfE) identified and invited 924 eligible schools to apply to become an accredited English Hub as part of a new national initiative to drive up standards in literacy. Following a competitive application and selection process, the DfE announced the designation of the inaugural English Hubs in autumn 2018.
Learners First is thrilled to confirm a lead Teaching School within the partnership, Whiston Worrygoose, was successfully designated as one of only 32 English Hubs in the country. As a partnership, we are excited by the opportunities this creates for local schools and are keen to share more information about the support and resources available and how schools can access and contribute to the work of the English Hub.
As defined by the DfE, each English Hub will:
‘…promote a love of reading and support schools across the country to provide excellent phonics and early language teaching. Literacy specialists within each hub will provide tailored support to schools. This will include running events to showcase excellent practice in teaching reading and working with local schools to develop their practice’.
Department for Education (DfE), October 2018
As an accredited English Hub, we work hard to promote and offer support in relation to the three priority areas identified by the DfE:
1. Early Language Development
Providing evidence-based approaches to early language development and closing the word gap in school-based early years settings.
2. Age-appropriate Phonics
Provision Encouraging best practice in systematic synthetic phonics teaching from school-based early years provision to the end of Key Stage 1.
3. Promoting a Love of Reading
Encouraging reading for enjoyment including by supporting whole school reading approaches and encouraging reading at home
English and Literacy CPD
New Professional Development Opportunities!
English Hub and Wider Partnership Offer:Spring and Summer Terms 2020
‘Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader’ (Margaret Fuller)
Literacy is a fundamental foundation of learning. Being able to read, write and communicate effectively opens up so many opportunities for children, not only in relation to their ability to access the curriculum and learning opportunities in school but across much broader aspects of their life too. “Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child they won’t be able to succeed at school, as a young adult they will be locked out of the job market, and as a parent they won’t be able to support their own child’s learning. This intergenerational cycle makes social mobility and a fairer society more difficult” (National Literacy Trust, 2020). The correlation between literacy and social disadvantage is well documented in educational research with the ‘language gap’ cited as one of the biggest causes of underachievement in later life, particularly for disadvantaged learners.
Challenging these trends and supporting schools to improve pupils’ literacy skills and proficiency matters greatly to Learners First and remains a key driver of our work, both as a DfE accredited English Hub and as a broader school-led partnership. Designing, developing and facilitating high quality, purposeful and authentic professional development opportunities and school-led networks to support such improvements is key to our work in this area. The response and engagement with the English Hub offer (including our DfE accredited Letters and Sounds provision), has been phenomenal thus far and has elicited exceptionally positive feedback from school leaders across many different settings and school contexts.
Using this feedback as well as our broader school-based experiences, we are delighted to share details of a range of new literacy and English focussed CPD opportunities. This overview has been designed to bring together elements of the DfE accredited English Hub provision with a range of connected but independent opportunities available through the broader Learners First partnership. Full details are available overleaf but opportunities include: Voice 21 Oracy Programmes and ‘Deep Dive’ Oracy CPD Days; Phonics (phonics beyond Y2; developing fluency; fundamentals and decodables); Active Literacy (focus on SPAG); Reading Transition into KS3; A Love of Reading seminar and book signing with Michael Rosen; School Case Studies; and Letters & Sounds related CPD. We hope this provides school leaders with a comprehensive array of pertinent opportunities, demonstrates the connectedness across the two areas of work and supports more schools in their endeavours to improve literacy outcomes for children and young people.
For full details including booking arrangements, please see the information on the flyer.
English Hub Literacy Specialists
As a DfE designated English Hub, Learners First has 6 experienced Literacy Specialists who are currently working with schools across Derbyshire and South Yorkshire in supporting the development of early reading and phonics.
The Literacy Specialists continue to be based in their own schools, whilst working with the Hub to offer intensive support to schools in implementing or improving all systematic synthetic phonics teaching. All Literacy Specialists regularly undertake nationally delivered training provided by the English Hubs Training Centre.
National Remit of English Hubs
All support offered by the English Hubs across the country will promote the Department’s three priority areas
1. Early language development:providing evidence-based approaches to early language development and closing the word gap in school-based early years settings, including appropriate use of formative assessment;
2. Age-appropriate phonics provision : encouraging best practice in systematic synthetic phonics teaching from school-based early years provision to the end of Key Stage 1, and as the primary reading strategy throughout the school. This includes:
- encouraging fidelity to a single systematic synthetic phonics programme;
- supporting the effective use of decodable books in the early stages of learning to read, as a way of establishing phonic decoding;
- supporting effective practice in formative assessment in relation to phonics/early reading.
3. Promoting a love of reading: encouraging reading for enjoyment including by supporting whole school reading approaches, reading to children at least once a day and encouraging reading at home, developing teachers’ knowledge of appropriate children’s literature.
Can all schools access English Hub support?
There are opportunities available to all schools. Schools are encouraged to approach and access the support of any English Hub with which they already have an existing partnership and/or would prefer to choose to work. The DfE’s intention is for schools to access the provision offered by English Hubs through a ‘Self-Referral’ system.
In addition, English Hubs have been asked to work with local partners including (but not limited to) the RSC, Opportunity Area Boards, NLEs, MATs, Dioceses and LAs to identify and encourage engagement from schools that would most benefit from support, with a focus on schools with high numbers of disadvantaged children.
English Hubs have been asked to prioritise schools based on a set of criteria (provided by the DfE) which is available in our English Hub Update. However, there will be a range of opportunities available to all schools via the Learners First English Hub. We would like to encourage all schools interested in finding out more about the opportunities, CPD and resources available to make contact to discuss the options available in more detail.
Opportunities available in 2019-20
Support, funding and opportunities offered to schools through the Learners First English Hub in 2019-20 will include:
- Who – All eligible schools
- What – Event showcasing elements of best practice in teaching phonics, early language and reading with representatives from the lead school and literacy specialists available to offer advice and support to schools.
- Funding – No charge to attend. Cover costs provided for eligible schools dependent upon the attendance of the Headteacher.
Showcase Events in 2019-20
To book on a showcase event please click on a link below for your preferred date to complete a registration form.
Thursday 16th January 2020
Monday 3rd February 2020
Wednesday 4th March 2020
Tuesday 31st March 2020 (showcase cancelled owing to Coronavirus)
- Who – All eligible schools
- What – Opportunity to complete and an action plan during attendance at a showcase event. Initial improvement action plans will identify potential engagement opportunities and associated support and resources available from the English Hub.
- Funding– As above
- Who – All eligible schools
- What – Action plan reviews undertaken by the English Hub will determine further support requirements. In some cases this will include a school-based audit of early language and reading provision (using an audit framework provided by the DfE) leading to further refinement of action plans and associated support and resources (1 day)
- Funding– Funded support available.
- Who – All eligible schools
- What – Completion of an audit will enable the hub to decide whether a school is ready to become a partner school and move on to receiving 6 days of in-school support. Medium level support packages will also be available and will be aimed at one of the three English Hub priorities.
- Funding– Funding available dependent upon the level of support
- Who – All schools
- What – The work of the English Hub and support available through them is shared widely at both local and national level through various forums. Opportunities for working collaboratively with key stakeholders and building capacity are identified and built upon.
- Funding– Future funding decisions to be agreed at national level