Flying High English Hub visited by Department for Education in recognition of outstanding practice

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  • Posted on: May 13, 2024
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Representatives from the Department for Education see children at work at Nuthall’s Horsendale Primary School.

Representatives from the Department of Education have visited Horsendale Primary School in Nuthall to see the impact of the support offered to schools by the ‘Flying High English Hub’.

Since their inception in 2018, the 34 English Hubs chosen from across the UK by the Department for Education (DfE) have been supporting schools to develop the impact of their phonics teaching, children’s engagement of reading and early language development.

Each English Hub was chosen based on the high quality of teaching, and their outstanding impact, and was tasked in turn to use their experience to share best practice with other schools.

Carl Pattison is the Flying High English Hub Senior Lead and he explained the reason for the visit. “Since the English Hub schools were identified for their exemplary practice and high standards in early reading, those responsible in the Department for Education (DfE) for the English Hub programme visit those settings to both learn from them, listen to feedback about the programme, and to reflect on how they can share their findings with others.

“We were delighted that our visitors could spend time in phonics lessons, observing practice and talking with children. Horsendale Primary School achieves high standards in the Year one phonics screening check, so the lesson visits enabled our colleagues from the DfE to observe what that looks like in the classroom. They also went into various writing lessons across Key Stage 2 and were keen to explore how writing is taught across the school and learn more about the types of challenges children face. They were very impressed with the in-depth approach to writing and could see that children were supported extremely well to write for a purpose.”

Carl says he hopes the visit will raise the profile of Flying High English Hub and the work they do, as he encourages more schools to access their support. “Schools currently access varying levels of support from the hub. There are partner schools who receive intensive support for early reading which focuses on the effective implementation of a systematic synthetic phonics programme enabling all children learn to read well. However, some schools simply access our training sessions and other medium level support focused on early reading, early language and reading for pleasure. Importantly, we hope to spread the word that our English Hub also offers funding opportunities to support schools to purchase resources for the validated phonics programme.”

Amanda Smalley is Headteacher at Horsendale Primary School and said she welcomed the chance to show the good work carried out at her school. “Here, at Horsendale, we are so proud to be the home of the Flying High English Hub. As a Hub school, we have a rigorous, consistent approach to phonics and early reading which means that our children progress and succeed from day one. Being a Hub gives our staff access to high quality, national training and the opportunity to work with other schools, sharing practice and ultimately, striving to improve.”

Stuart Miller is Department for Education Director for Curriculum and General Qualifications, and he thanked the school and Flying High English Hub for an informative visit. He said, “It was brilliant to see the children so engaged in their learning and this is testament to the high-quality teaching in the school. I was also interested to learn about the alignment of English Hub with the wider trust as well as literacy work in the Nottingham and Derby Priority areas.”

Carl Pattison said that the success of the Flying High English Hub is borne out of their aims to provide schools with the best training and support, so that every child can flourish.
“For us, it was a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of the school and work of the Flying High English Hub. It also enabled us to share the superb work taking place across our partnership with writing and across the Priority Literacy offer. The Flying High English Hub is a key partner in this project which aims to raise standards across the priority investment areas of Derby and Nottingham.
“Importantly, the children had the opportunity to show the visitors how much they love their lessons and how well they are doing in reading and writing.”

Standing left to right are Department for Education visitors Dan Kovac-Hutchinson (English Hubs Delivery), Jennifer MacDuff (Curriculum Policy Lead) and Stuart Millar (Director Curriculum & General Qualifications). Photo credits Lou Brimble
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