Developing an English Curriculum: the CLPE’s first, sell-out conference of the year

On Friday 26th April, the CLPE were delighted to host our first conference of the year for primary educators around the theme of developing an English Curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. The conference’s central premise explored how literacy teaching is the key to helping children unlock the doors to their future, and asked teachers, policy leaders, librarians, publishers and all working to improve children’s literacy to consider the importance of an English curriculum that supports, includes and is catered towards creating better outcomes for all children across the UK.

Sharing insights on the day were a range of keynote speakers including:

Sarah Hubbard, Ofsted’s National Lead in English, who foregrounded a strong primary curriculum as one that fosters a deep body of skills, a breadth of knowledge and gives children access to a range of high quality texts and linguistic forms to provide the foundations for a smooth transition to secondary school and later learning.

Learn about building a strong text-centred curriculum using high quality children’s books by downloading our What we Know Works: Choosing and Using Texts guide.

Farrah Serroukh, CLPE’s Regional Programme Leader, who discussed the need for schools to consider creating a whole-school curriculum to reflect the realities of all their children, and how teachers can use more contemporary, inclusive and representative narratives to give children the opportunity to see themselves in what they are reading and within wider society.

Read the CLPE’s Reflecting Realities research into ethnic representation in UK Children’s literature

Dominic Wyse, Professor of Early Childhood and Primary Education at UCL’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy then shared his comparative research on national curricula around the world, and what an ideal English Curriculum would look like if reading and writing for pleasure were at the foreground of teaching.

Read about creating a reading for pleasure school using our What We Know Works Guide

Find out about our Power of Reading programme which trains teacher to deliver a holistic and cross-curricular English provision within schools

Charlotte Hacking, CLPE’s Learning Programmes Leader, followed on from Dominic’s talk with her work on the CLPE’s Power of Pictures project (funded by the Education Endowment Fund and the Royal Society of Arts). This year’s trial summary research findings, shared for the very first time on the day, highlighted how picture books are essential in providing a unique opportunity for children to learn about structure in narratives in an accessible way, strengthening their knowledge of character, setting, plot, pacing and structure in their own writing, as well as creating spaces for supporting visual learners who are often held back by current teaching methods and the focus of the curriculum and assessment methods which favour verbal learners.

Learn more about Power of Pictures and access free resources to integrate picture books and illustration into your teaching

Teachers then took part in a series of workshops for their individual phase groups, and explored strategies to create rich reading curricula within their own school settings.

The day culminated with CLPE patron, children’s poet and CLiPPA 2018 winner, Joseph Coelho, who performed a range of his poems along with teacher participation, shared his experience of working in primary schools and showcased the transformational power of poetry in fostering a love of reading and writing in children: a fitting conclusion inspiring teachers to think creatively and holistically about the English curriculum.

Thank you to all attendees, and Tales on Moon Lane who were our dedicated Children’s booksellers on the day.

Our next conference on June 14th will extend and deepen teachers’ knowledge on picture books and illustration, showcasing the full findings of the Power of Pictures research project. We are delighted to announce that Keynote speakers include the UK’s outgoing Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child and author Gill Lewis (Gorilla Dawn, Sky Hawk, A Story Like the Wind). Book your place now.