Press release: New £10,000 grants to continue drive to eliminate illiteracy

Primary schools that excel at teaching pupils to read will receive £10,000 to help them spread their expertise to other schools – School Reform Minister Nick Gibb announced today (14 July 2015).

Since the introduction of the phonics screening check in 2012, 100,000 more 6-year-olds are on track to become proficient readers.

However, too many pupils across the country are still not confident in phonics at the end of year 1.

To ensure as many young people as possible develop a strong grasp of reading early on, the grants of £10,000 will be made available to 8 groups of schools, led by top-performing primaries.

Schools Minister Nick 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.

3 years on from the introduction of the phonics check, 100,000 more 6-year-olds each year are on track to become confident, proficient readers.

But 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.

We are serious about eliminating illiteracy in this country which means we need to reach a position where every primary school is teaching reading using phonics as well as the best are.

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.

Achieving the expected standard in the phonics check is a strong indicator of a pupil’s performance in wider reading assessments.

Of those year 1 pupils that met the expected standard in the check in 2013, 99% went on to achieve the expected level in reading at the end of key stage 1 in 2014.

The money will be used by groups of schools to develop models to improve phonics teaching that have the potential to work for other schools.

Each group 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 schools leading the phonics partnerships are:

  • Trenance Learning Academy, Newquay, Cornwall
  • St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School, Ilford, Essex
  • Bishopton Redmarshall Church of England Primary School, Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham
  • Witham St Hughes Academy, Lincolnshire
  • Golden Valley Primary School, Nailsea, North Somerset
  • Mangotsfield Church of England, Bristol
  • St George’s Church of England Primary, Wandsworth
  • Hawksmoor Primary, Greenwich

Notes to editors

  1. In 2014, 74% of year 1 pupils met the expected standard in the screening check – up from 58% in 2012. This 16 percentage point rise is equivalent to 102,000 more children doing well, based on the 2014 cohort. Read how more pupils are on track to succeed in reading via phonics.
  2. From September 2011 to October 2013, the coalition government provided match-funding to enable schools with key stage 1 and key stage 2 pupils to buy effective systematic synthetic phonics products and/or training. £23.7million was claimed by over 14,000 schools.

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