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Vital literacy conference supports secondary trainee teachers

Hosted on Edge Hill’s award-winning campus, the Faculty of Education invited secondary PGCE students and colleagues from our partnership settings to an insightful Literacy and Phonics Conference.

The focus of the day was ‘take the fear out of literacy’ and the conference aimed to give students and teachers practical skills to tackle the post-pandemic drop in literacy.

The keynote speech was delivered by Alex Quigley – senior associate at the Education Endowment Foundation, educational consultant, author, former English teacher and regular columnist for TES and Teach Secondary magazine. Alex shared practical skills that the attendees can use to confidently boost pupils’ reading skills and build their motivation for reading.

Alex Quigley

“When it comes to literacy, I think there is no more important topic for teachers. For pupils being able to read fluently is foundational for education, as it affects every single aspect of learning, from reading maths questions and exam questions to reading for pleasure at home.

Post-pandemic there is clear evidence that literacy has taken a big hit, especially for disadvantaged children, because learning at home can never match the magic of being in the classroom. So, while literacy, reading and writing have always been important, it’s now absolutely vital that we tackle this issue head-on.”

Alex Quigley
Keynote Speaker

The conference featured a range of speakers, as well as workshops and discussions, on the journeys and experiences of schools teaching literacy and phonics at a time when improving literacy has never been more important.

The afternoon keynote speech was delivered by Dr Karen Boardman, Head of Department, Early Years Education at Edge Hill University.

Dr Karen Boardman

“This was a vital literacy conference to support secondary trainee teachers and partners with the literacy journey of early reading, systematic synthetic phonics and reading fluency. 

It is important that all teachers know how literacy impacts on everyone’s learning and how best to support, given that we are all teachers of literacy in our classrooms.” 

Dr Karen Boardman
Head of Department, Early Years Education

Students took away lots of advice to improve their future practice. As a teaching student at Edge Hill University you will be supported through your transition to working life as an early career teacher through access to dedicated conferences and workshops. Professional practice is an essential element of your programme. We have developed relationships with over 2,000 partner schools, colleges and other settings. Allowing us to provide an excellent experience for our trainees.

We caught up with two students at the conference for their feedback about the event:

“Hearing practical examples of how we can support pupils with their literacy and seeing the ideas and rules that underpin literacy education will have a huge impact on my teaching.”

Madeleine Hilton-Flynn
PGCE Secondary English with QTS

“As English trainees, we already love books and reading but it can be hard to instil that in pupils, now we have helpful strategies to help young people learn to love reading.” 

Sophie Devin
PGCE Secondary English with QTS

The Faculty of Education has been at the forefront of teacher education for 135 years and today enjoys the enviable position of being one of the country’s leading providers of education, training and research for the children’s workforce.

Our vision is to undertake and prioritise research that impacts positively on the lives of children, young people, schools, educational institutions, families and communities. This drives our vibrant research culture and environment, where social inclusiveness, democratic understanding, and collaborative activity, are all fundamental to the ways in which we undertake research.

Our educational research was rated highly in the UK-wide Research Excellence Framework (REF), with 76% of our research rated as internationally recognised, internationally excellent, or world-leading.

Natalie Reynolds

“It’s always exciting to be able to bring some of the nation’s best teachers and education experts to Edge Hill. As one of the country’s biggest and best hubs for teacher training, we recognise our key role in helping teachers and schools recover from the pandemic and share best practice. We will continue to share our research in any way we can, whether through our free online CPD or conferences like this one.”

Natalie Reynolds
Senior Lecturer in Secondary English

January 27, 2023