How to use this exemplar to improve practice?
July 2017 report details the positive impact on practitioners and the outcomes for children during the 2016/2017 session.
There are key components highlighted within the report which have been integral to the improvements:
- the improvement has required collaboration at all levels: within and between individual schools; within and between individual local authorities; within and between individual health boards; between both education and health
- the Northern Alliance developed a clear support plan for their initial pilot, identifying the most effective conditions to enable the collaboration to flourish
- the collaboration is based on the needs of the practitioners; new content has been created in response to the topics which practitioners have identified as gaps in knowledge and skills.
Taking a developmental approach to emerging literacy enables practitioners to match the teaching and learning to the needs of their children. The collaborative support programme capitalises on developing teacher subject knowledge to enable education practitioners to work with children in school, and support family learning at home, to build solid foundational reading and writing skills so that their children can thrive.
As well as face to face training, the multi-agency introduction training has also been produced as an
online training resource to support the cascade of training across the Northern Alliance.
Practitioners involved in 2016/2017 have shared the impact on their practice and outcomes for children in the
Northern Alliance Emerging Literacy Practice Video 2016/2017.
- How are we matching the teaching and learning to the needs of each child?
- How does our literacy framework take the developmental knowledge of foundational reading and writing skills into consideration?
- How are we working collaboratively to improve the outcomes for each child?
- How well is our focus on literacy closing the poverty related attainment gap?
- How well are we removing barriers to learning and ensuring equity for all?
PDF file: Raising Attainment in Literacy, Language and Communication - final report July 2017
Explore this resource
What was done?
The Northern Alliance identified key priorities when forming their regional collaboration. Raising attainment in literacy, language and communication and closing the poverty related gap with regards to literacy, language and communication were two areas identified within the literacy strand.
The Northern Alliance:
- appointed a strategic lead officer to develop and embed the collaborative improvement across the Northern Alliance
- committed funding from the innovation fund and individual local authorities/ health boards to support the collaboration at each level
- scaled up to include more schools in the Emerging Literacy work, originally developed in Highland, with practitioners across the Northern Alliance.
Through evaluation of attainment data the Northern Alliance identified literacy, language and communication as an improvement priority to raise attainment and close the poverty related attainment gap.
For children to flourish, our education practitioners need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to support their children to thrive. We know that on entering school it is normal for children to have gaps in their foundational reading and writing skills. We also know that the pattern of gaps is different for each child. These gaps consist of the natural biological variation of each child as well as the gaps in experience and environment. The Northern Alliance acknowledged that their literacy frameworks needed to take cognisance of these developmental gaps.
The research-informed practice between education and health within Highland Council had been developed and piloted with a selection of schools. When setting their priorities as a regional collaborative, the Northern Alliance identified this approach as a model which could be developed at scale across the seven local authorities.
The Northern Alliance has created a model for regional collaboration which is having a positive impact on practitioners resulting in positive outcomes for children.
What was the impact?
The collaboration across the Northern Alliance has identified that “gaps” in foundational reading and writing skills on P1 entry are normal and are to be expected, however, the pattern of gaps is different for each child. This includes the natural biological variation of each child as well as the experience and environmental gaps.
The specialist knowledge which underpins the foundations of reading and writing is a knowledge base which educational psychologists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists hold. The transformation of Emerging Literacy, when originally developed in Highland, was in blurring the boundaries between education and health to further develop teacher subject knowledge in early literacy, language and communication.
Through the collaborative partnerships across the Northern Alliance, the seven local authorities have been able to take a developmental approach to emerging literacy at scale, collaboration as their key driver to improvement.
Across the Northern Alliance, local networks of practice have been created, with ongoing support provided, enabling education practitioners to translate their developmental knowledge of foundational reading and writing skills – concepts of print, oral language, phonological awareness, pre-handwriting and working memory skills – to match the teaching and learning to the needs of the children within their school. Through working with AHPs and educational psychologists, education practitioners have an increased confidence in their understanding of foundational reading and writing skills, and are able to use their knowledge and skills developed to address the gaps in their children’s foundational reading and writing skills, building solid foundations for later learning.