Primary schools that have shown “expertise” in teaching pupils to read will receive £10,000 to share their knowledge with other schools, Nick Gibb announced today.
The schools minister wants the grants to spearhead the government’s drive to eliminate pupil illiteracy.
The grants will be given to eight schools who will then use the money to develop models for improving phonics teaching and have “the potential to work for other schools”.
Mr Gibb said: “For too long, thousands of young people have been allowed to fall behind in reading. This government’s drive to eliminate illiteracy is putting a stop to that.”
The grants come three years after the introduction of the phonics screening check (PSC) — an individual, oral assessment of pupils in the second year of primary school which requires pupils to read words and pseudo-words.
As reported by Schools Week earlier this month, however, a report on the outcomes from a three-year evaluation of the check found no evidence of improvement in pupils’ literacy that could clearly be attributed to the introduction of the PSC.
But Mr Gibb said today that, as a result of PSC, 100,000 more six-year-olds each year are on track to become “confident, proficient readers”.
“I want to go further and ensure all children across the country are benefitting from the excellent phonics teaching I have seen first-hand in our best schools,” he added.
“This funding allows schools to share their expertise and I am confident it will lead to even more young people acquiring the foundation of effective reading at an early age – putting them on the path to a successful education.”
Each of the selected groups is led by a “high-performing school with a track record of leading improvement activity” and will also include schools seeking to make rapid improvements in their phonics teaching.
The geographic spread is wide, with grant-receiving schools spread from County Durham down to Cornwall.
The schools leading the phonics partnership are:
Trenance Learning Academy, Newquay, Cornwall
St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Solihull, West Midlands
Bishopton Redmarshall Church of England Primary School, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham
Witham St Hughes Academy, Lincolnshire
Mangotsfield Church of England, Bristol
Golden Valley Primary School, Nailsea, North Somerset
St George’s Church of England Primary, Wandsworth
Hawksmoor Primary, Greenwich