Primary Literacy conference 2019

30 January 2019, Crowne Plaza Birmingham CityBook online 

Delivered in association with Oxford University Press

Fee: £180+VAT pp
Discount for multiple places: £150+VAT pp

It is recommended that headteachers and literacy leads attend together for maximum benefit.

This conference is suitable for senior leaders and leaders of literacy in primary education, and across all types of schools. A special rate applies for two or more delegates attending from the same school or organisation.

Improving social mobility is one of the biggest challenges the UK faces today, and literacy is key to addressing that challenge. We know that disadvantaged children are more than eight months behind their peers in reading by age 11, and are less than half as likely to achieve a pass in GCSE English. One in eight disadvantaged children in the UK say that they don’t have a book of their own, and children born into communities with the most serious literacy challenges have some of the lowest life expectancies in England.

The aim of this conference is to focus on how school leaders and teachers can address the ‘word gap’ and build children’s capacity to use language creatively and effectively to improve their future life chances, both at school and in the wider world. It will focus on policy initiatives, reading instruction and reading for pleasure, the importance of talk and how to develop vocabulary, both at home and across all areas of learning from Reception to Year 6 (and into secondary school).  It builds on the work of the Oxford Language Report, Why Closing the Word Gap Matters.OUP_Full_Regular_282 150px

Conference chair

Julie McCulloch, ASCL Director of Policy

keynote speakers

Sarah Hubbard
Her Majesty's Inspector and Ofsted's National Lead for English 

Ruth Miskin OBE
Creator of Read Write Inc. and founder of Ruth Miskin Training 

Jean Gross CBE
founding Trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation, advisor to the Big Lottery’s ‘A Better Start’ programme 

Geoff Barton
ASCL General Secretary, previously English teacher and Headteacher

Daisy Christodoulou
Director of Education at No More Marking

James Clements
English adviser, founder of education website Shakespeare and More

Roy Blatchford
Author and Founding Director of the National Education Trust. Advisor to the Education Policy Institute and former HMI. Founder of


Provisional programme (subject to amendment)


Registration and refreshments


Welcome and introductions
Julie McCulloch, ASCL Director of Policy


The Forgotten Third: do a third of young people in England really leave school unable to read and write properly?
Roy Blatchford CBE, chair of ASCL's "Forgotten Third" Commission of Inquiry


Holistic writing skills and rich vocabulary: developing teacher subject knowledge and improving the assessment of writing
Daisy Christodoulou, Director of Education at No More Marking




The importance of early intervention
Jean Gross, founding Trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation and advisor to the Big Lottery's "A Better Start" programme


The new Ofsted framework: what will a renewed focus on the curriculum mean for English teaching and learning?
Sarah Hubbard, HMI and Ofsted's National Lead for English




Children who read a lot close their own word gap. Make the teaching of reading your school's avowed core purpose
Ruth Miskin OBE, creator of Read Write Inc., and founder of Ruth Miskin Training


Effective strategies for creating lifelong readers
James Clements, English adviser, founder of education website Shakespeare and More


Panel discussion
Ruth Miskin, Jean Gross, James Clements, ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton


What comes next? Effective primary-secondary transition in English
Geoff Barton, ASCL General Secretary and former English teacher


Closing remarks
Julie McCulloch, ASCL Director of Policy





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