National literacy hub launched

21st December 2012 at 00:00
It will receive government funding and support other local authorities, as Elizabeth Buie reports

North Lanarkshire Council has launched its National Literacy Hub. Along with the other four hubs - Fife, Edinburgh, West Dunbartonshire and Highland - it will receive Scottish government funding to offer support to other authorities in Scotland as part of the national literacy strategy.

The authority's active literacy programme has gained wide recognition and its literacy experts have a proven track record in implementing and evaluating large-scale, evidence-based initiatives. It is currently working on a programme for children at second level in Curriculum for Excellence who have additional support needs, and is about to pilot a literacy programme for secondary and launch guidance for P6-7.

Members of its quality improvement and psychological services will be involved in the hub, offering consultation and training in the following areas:

- Evidence-based teaching of phonics, reading comprehension, spelling and writing.

- Developing effective evaluation frameworks capturing the key information required at every stage to demonstrate success.

- How to use research findings to inform literacy support for all children, including those with literacy difficulties.

- The role of quality improvement officers, psychologists and senior managers in improving schoolchildren's literacy.

Senior educational psychologist Nancy Ferguson told TESS the hub concept had emerged from the government's Standing Literacy Commission, chaired by the government's chief medical officer, Sir Harry Burns. "If other authorities want to adapt active literacy, we can support them with that," she said.

Dr Ferguson, who has led North Lanarkshire's literacy evaluation work, has been seconded to the authority's national literacy hub 2.5 days a week. Her involvement is evidence of the government's desire to encourage educational psychologists to be involved in the development and evaluation of literacy strategies.

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