A new Centre of Excellence for Literacy Teaching will be given £26 million in government funding to open 35 English hubs across the country, Justine Greening is to announce today.
The government will also set up a £7.7 million curriculum fund, which will be used to pay “cultural and scientific institutions” to develop new teaching resources.
The education secretary will set out proposals for a series of measures to improve literacy teaching and expand phonics programmes later today. The announcement has been billed as part of the government’s social mobility strategy, outlined by the education secretary before Christmas.
But these “small initiatives” have been dismissed as a sticking plaster by Labour, which has called for school revenue funding cuts to be reversed.
Like existing maths hubs, the centre will “promote and share effective practice” with a particular focus on language and literacy teaching in reception. This plan builds on Greening’s pledge in her Conservative Party conference speech last year to spend £12 million on new hubs in the north of England.
Greening will also set out plans for a new £435,000 investment in phonics and reading “partnerships”, including £100,000 for 20 roadshows across the country. Again, the focus will be on reception teaching.
She will also explain how £5.7 million of existing strategic school improvement fund money will be used in 469 schools to improve literacy and numeracy skills among around 40,000 children.
The £7.7 million curriculum fund, which was mentioned in the Conservative’s election manifesto last year, will “encourage the development of high-quality teaching resources by organisations, including by leading cultural and scientific institutions”.
Greening said the investment will mean that “once they are at school, every child will get the best literacy teaching”.
But Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, said the funding would do “nothing” to reverse £2.7 billion in cuts to school budgets since 2015.
“Once again this government believes that these small initiatives are enough to reverse the damage they are doing to our schools,” she said. “Until this government gets the basics right they will never be able to deliver the education that every child deserves.”