Sue Palmer talks to the new man in charge of the Government's primary literacy strategy
he key word for Steve Anwyll, who took over last month as the new director of the National Literacy Strategy, is "consolidation". A former primary teacher, and manager of Sheffield's original literacy project, he has been one of the strategy's regional directors since it started.
"Primary teachers' response to the strategy has been extremely positive - they've really worked hard to implement it and have already made great progress," he says. "Our job now is to help teachers embed what they've achieved and move forward - we have to support them in consolidating the literacy hour and improving the quality of teaching. And we must do it without distracting them with too many new materials or initiatives."
In the short term, this means more support for the teaching of writing. Resources and training have so far been targeted at key stage 2. Developing Early Writing, to be published at the end of this term, will cover the foundation stage and infant years - "a very practical resource for teachers," Steve Anwyll says. The associated training will be aimed initially at Year 2 teachers. Resources in preparationare an interactive grammar package, guidance on cross-curricular links to appear on the NLS website and sets of four-page fliers on non-fiction and fiction writing.
The longer-term focus is on support for children who fail to progress at the expected rate. Early Literacy Support (ELS) for Year 1 children has been piloted in 38 local education authorities, and will be available nationally from April. Training will be provided for a Year 1 teacher, a teaching assistant and a reception teacher from every school, together with ELS teaching materials and funding. Further Literacy Support (FLS) materials for Years 5 and 6 are being developed and piloted during 2001, and Steve Anwyll hopes then to update and refine the original Additional Literacy Support (ALS) for Years 3 and 4.
"Alongside these initiatives," he adds, "we intend to look at the place of speaking and listening in the literacy hour, and at the importance of linking literacy learning to work across the curriculum. We also recognise the need to work closely with OFSTED inspectors, to ensure they're completely up-to-date with practice as the literacy hour continues to evolve."
NLSwebsite: www.standards.dfee. gov.ukliteracy