The National Literacy Programme (NLP), which the Minister will formally launch at Ysgol Cwm Garw in Bridgend, sets out the actions the Welsh Government and its partners need to take to achieve a step change in literacy standards over the next 5 years.
The NLP brings together a number of key initiatives to drive up standards and also outlines the steps needed to support teachers in taking these actions forwards. The actions are focused on the following four themes:
- Setting national expectations and standards.
- Greater support and development.
- Stronger targeted interventions.
- Greater accountability and challenge.
Amongst the key initiatives in the NLP are targeted support for pupils; support for teachers’ professional development; the sharing and consistent use of best practice; a statutory National Literacy and Numeracy framework; and development of national reading tests.
One of the most important objectives of the NLP is to support teachers of every subject across every phase of education to become teachers of literacy.
As part of the programme, teachers will have the opportunity to undertake additional study in the teaching of literacy, including a specific literacy module in the Masters in Educational Practice; learn from outstanding teachers of literacy who will share their expertise; and take part in Professional Learning Communities.
The new statutory National Literacy and Numeracy Framework, which will be published for consultation in June, will provide an essential curriculum planning tool for teachers and will also set out clear annual expectations for literacy and numeracy for all learners aged 5 to 14.
Primary and secondary schools will use the LNF to make sure that the teaching of literacy and numeracy skills is embedded in all subjects across the curriculum. The LNF will also allow all teachers to monitor pupils’ progress against end of year expectations for literacy - helping schools identify how best to challenge and support all of their learners.
Another important aspect of the programme will be the introduction of English and Welsh national reading tests for all learners in years two through to nine. The tests will give teachers, parents and carers a more accurate picture of a pupil’s reading ability by helping to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Launching the programme at Ysgol Cwm Garw, where teachers have used a number of different methods to promote literacy, the Minister said:
"Improving levels of literacy and numeracy is a key commitment in our Programme for Government. Nothing is more important than ensuring all of our young people have the skills they need to read, write and communicate.
"There are many excellent examples of teaching and learning in literacy across Wales. Ysgol Cwm Garw is one school which is already leading the way through its imaginative and intelligent use of different teaching methods.
"What we must do is ensure that all learners benefit from excellent teaching of literacy and develop the skills that are so vital to their future success.
"The National Literacy Programme will introduce greater consistency and clarity into the way we track pupils’ progress while also providing the support, challenge and accountability needed in our schools."