The University’s Reading Support team has provided training and professional development for 60 Oxfordshire schools over the past year as part of the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, in partnership with the National Literacy Trust.


The University’s reading experts have trained teaching assistants to use Project X CODE – a reading intervention from Oxford University Press that embeds systematic synthetic phonics within a highly motivational book-by-book adventure series – to give children a helping hand to develop phonic skills, comprehension and a love of reading. Edge Hill University has also run courses and conferences for teachers and head teachers to help them raise standards for all children.

As a result, the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign has ended its first year with county schools exceeding Key Stage 1 teacher assessment targets.

Nick Dowrick, the University’s Director of Intervention Support, said: “We are delighted that the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign has passed its first year with flying colours, delivering positive outcomes for the children, families and the wider community of Oxfordshire.

“Our training programmes use innovative, stimulating teaching approaches that draw on the latest research to help children to ‘de-code’ words, while also developing their ability to read fluently and with understanding and enjoyment. We set up Reading Support because there are a lot of children who can’t read well enough to have a good chance in life. We know that we can help them and we are delighted to have had this opportunity to do so.”

Rachel Crouch, the Head Teacher of St Nicholas Primary School, said: “The training hasn’t just helped our teaching assistant to deliver Project X CODE    it has transformed the way she supports children’s reading in class lessons.”

Julie Gibbings of the National Literacy Trust said: “We have seen incredibly positive results from the first year of the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign, not only in terms of pupils’ teacher assessments and reading age gain, but also in terms of raising awareness of the importance of reading throughout the community. We are looking forward to embarking on year two of the campaign and working with a new wave of schools to build on our successes.”

Reading Support is an initiative by Edge Hill University which helps schools across the country to raise achievement in reading and literacy by giving support for children who struggle to read and through wider training for teachers. It is backed by the Department for Education.

To find out more about the programmes, visit the website https://readingsupport.edgehill.ac.uk/