Supporting schools to improve teaching of phonics, early language and reading in Reception & Year 1
Background to English Hubs
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:
English & Literacy CPD Opportunities – 2020/21
New Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers and Leaders including opportunities related to CV-19 Recovery, Phonics, Ofsted updates, Y2 Screening Preparation, Reading and Vocabulary
All support offered by the English Hubs across the country will promote the Department’s three priority areas:
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.
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 work 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.
Letters and Sounds Online Lessons
Daily Lessons Continue!
Letters and Sounds Update
The DfE have recently announced that they will not now be publishing the previously promised update to the Letters and Sounds progression. Schools will continue to be able to access the original 2007 framework online. Following this announcement, schools will naturally have questions regarding the continuation of Letters and Sounds and the DfE have provided the following reassurance:
- There is no suggestion that Letters and Sounds will disappear.
- Current L&S accredited training will continue until July 2023, so there will be continuity for schools who are already using the current programme.
- The new validated list (following a re-validation process to begin Summer 2021) means there will be more high-quality choice for schools looking at which SSP to use.
- There will be no expectation that schools using Letters and Sounds well, and achieving excellent results, will have to change to a new programme.
- There is no need to rush any decision about choosing an SSP; schools will be provided with support and guidance about the range of options.
If you would like to discuss any of the above, please contact Liz Kenny, English Hub Lead.
Here at the English Hub we are determined to continue to offer support and advice to schools throughout these difficult and unusual times. With this in mind we have produced a resource which provides access to a selection of resources and websites which can help ensure that children are accessing high quality content which is both educational and engaging. This document can be accessed by following this link and can be shared with colleagues who are in school or home educating or through your school website. Use the materials as a stimulus for speaking and listening activities, engaging with high quality texts or to motivate children to write down their own ideas or responses. If you would like any further help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.
It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Gordon Askew MBE and Chair of the English Hub Council to the English Hub here in Rotherham. The focus of the visit was to review our own practice in the teaching of phonics and early reading and make sure that the example being promoted and shared nationally is as strong as possible. Gordon observed the teaching of discreet phonics lessons in both our Early Years and KS1 classrooms and spoke with both staff and pupils about the teaching of reading and reading culture promoted within the school. Gordon was very appreciative of the standard of teaching observed, the attitudes and behaviour of the pupils and with the quality of provision and school ethos as a whole. We are happy to report that he fully endorsed our continued role in supporting schools to improve the teaching of phonic, early language and reading.
Closing the Reading Gap Seminar
Alex Quigley returned to Rotherham in March to contribute to our programme of Professional Development following the overwhelming success of his first seminar for us last year which explored how to address the growing vocabulary gap. This time Alex was back to lead his new ‘Closing the Reading Gap’ masterclass seminar and we were all very excited to hear what Alex had to share with us as we continue to support school improvements in literacy and language development. During the session, Alex unpicked the challenges faced by all of our pupils as they grapple with the academic reading demands posed by the school curriculum and considered the implications for pupils at all phases of their education. He explored a range of issues including what makes reading in school so difficult and what to prioritise when seeking to improve reading and provided a plethora of practical strategies to improve provision in all schools.
English Hub Team
Kate Davies was appointed CEO of Whitewoods Primary Academy Trust in July 2019 of which Whiston Worrygoose Primary School was the founding lead school. She has worked across all phases in education, serving as a head teacher for 15 years and working as a ‘National leader of Education’.
David Taylor is the senior lead for the English Hub and accredited Letters and Sounds training Hub. David is the head teacher at Whiston Worrygoose Primary School in Rotherham and leads a team of dedicated and experienced professionals who are committed to ensuring each learner reaches their full potential.
Liz Kenny is the English Hub lead and is based on site at Whiston Worrygoose Primary School. Liz has a strong track record of leading literacy across all primary phases and heads the team of literacy specialists, who work across the region, alongside her role as a DfE accredited Letters and Sounds trainer.
A team of nationally recognised literacy specialists who provide support to schools in the region in line with the key objectives of the English Hub. All are experienced professionals with detailed knowledge of phonics programmes and pedagogy and are drawn from a diverse selection of school contexts across local districts.
English Hub Administration Team
A team of experienced professionals at LearnersFirst@WhistonWorrygoose who provide administrative and financial management support to the English Hub.
See what OUR supported schools say
Contact English Hub
For information regarding the English Hub, please contact:
English Hub Lead : Liz Kenny