Last Updated: Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Primary Literacy Coaching Programme in Renfrewshire

What is this?

Focussing on P1-P3 pupils, primary head teachers and class teachers are trained in new approaches that support the teaching of reading.

Who is this for?

This will be of interest and use to all involved in early years and primary education.

How to use this exemplar to improve practice?

To use this approach to improve practice, it is advisable for a number of schools to collaborate.

This project was developed in partnership with Professor Sue Ellis and her team at the University of Strathclyde. The approach incorporates a Literacy coaching programme for Head Teachers and at least one class teacher from each primary school (working within the infant stages).

Core activities include training in coaching models and evidence collection, establishing cross-school communities of practice and reflective reading and writing. Through the use of case studies and cohort intervention design, this project is designed to impact directly on pupil attainment, inform teacher knowledge of literacy factors affecting success and create further awareness of a range of literacy pedagogies.

Improvement questions

  • How well is our focus on literacy leading to raising attainment across the curriculum?
  • How well are we removing barriers to learning and ensuring equity for all?


PDF file: Renfrewshire Primary Literacy Coaching programme (96 KB)

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What was done?

Undertaken in 2015/16, the first phase of this literacy development programme has involved head teachers and 1 P1-3 class teacher from all 49 Renfrewshire primary schools. This programme combined theory-based professional learning workshops with experience of working with pupils in ‘Literacy Clinics’ to develop a coaching approach to reading. Designed as a professional learning opportunity for the teaching/strategic development of reading, participants have had opportunities to explore the impact of approaches to the teaching of reading, cultural capital, growth mindset and reader engagement.


Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education by Edward Sosu and Sue Ellis states that literacy instruction that has a responsive learning mix of decoding, fluency, comprehension, engagement and digital literacy research skills has a positive impact on the attainment of children living in poverty.

What was the impact?

The Primary Literacy Coaching Programme has been a rich professional learning experience for teachers and head teachers and has increased confidence in using running records and miscue analysis as a means of ensuring the correct text level for pupils. The coaching approach has been well received and has equipped teachers with a range of evidence-based strategies to support readers within P1-3. In addition, the programme has encouraged head teachers to review their strategic approaches to assessment, teaching and learning, learning support, resourcing and pupil engagement. Feedback from participating schools is already indicating that these approaches are helping to raise attainment.

The following video shows a headteacher talking about the impact of the Primary Literacy Coaching Programme in Renfrewshire.