Newham launches ground breaking reading scheme

A new phonics programme designed to improve reading standards for youngsters across Newham was launched this week.

It is part of the Mayor’s Reading Guarantee to ensure that all children leave school knowing how to read.

It is funded by Newham Council and the Department for Education (DfE) and will be rolled out to 17 primary and secondary schools in the first phase with the remaining schools running elements of the programme by the end of the next academic year.

The DfE will also invest �3,000 per school as part of a national match-funding scheme to encourage the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics.

The Mayor’s Reading Guarantee has three main elements and will involve teaching children how to read through phonics where they will connect the sounds of spoken English with letters or groups of letters. Pupils will also be taught how to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of unknown words.

The other elements include one-to-one support for pupils that fall behind in their learning and reading volunteers visiting every school in the programme to listen to children read and help them to progress their skills.

Sponsors Westfield Stratford City and John Lewis Partnership will support the initiative by providing volunteers to assist schools located close to their site. They will also work with Westfield retailers such as Foyles to ensure pupils involved in the initiative can attend book signings to see reading in practice and are rewarded for their progress.

Most Read

A recent Ofsted report “Reading by Six” published in November last year, confirmed that where children achieved high reading standards their schools delivered a rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics. This concentrated and systematic teaching of phonics was central to the success of schools in achieving consistently high reading standards in Key Stage 1.

Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham said: “The Mayor’s Reading Guarantee will help to ensure that every child leaves primary school with the ability to read independently.

“Literacy is a vital skill which will shape the futures of our children – from passing their exams to getting good jobs and this is why we are working with the Department for Education to invest in teaching our children to read through the use of phonics.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “High-quality evidence from across the world points to systematic phonics as the best method for teaching children to read, especially during the crucial first few years at school.

“Newham Council’s initiative to drive up standards of reading using systematic phonics in its primary schools is hugely important.

“I am delighted that Newham Council is introducing this programme and making use of the Government’s match-funding scheme. Up to �3,000 is available for every school in England with Key Stage 1 pupils so they can buy training, books and products to improve their teaching of phonics – and so ensure that all their pupils can read well.