Covid-19 Support and Recovery

As English Hubs, we are clear that helping schools provide excellent teaching in phonics and early language, and promoting a love of reading, create tangible and long-lasting benefits for children.
Reading is the key gateway to enabling children to fully access and benefit from other curriculum subjects, and ultimately to maximise their potential in life.
The unprecedented events of the Covid-19 pandemic have disrupted education for all children, in all subjects.

We are keen to help you prioritise phonics and reading as a key part of your recovery plan to get children back up to expected standards as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As Hubs we want to send you the message that we are here to support you.

Publication of the guidance for the full opening of schools from September,  included curriculum advice as follows:

“For pupils in Reception Year, teachers should also assess and address gaps in language, early reading and mathematics, particularly ensuring children’s acquisition of phonics knowledge and extending their vocabulary.” 

“For pupils in key stages 1 and 2, school leaders are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the essentials (phonics and reading, increasing vocabulary, writing and mathematics), identifying opportunities across the curriculum so they read widely, and developing their knowledge and vocabulary.”

We have put together some practical guidance for you to consider, which we hope will be helpful when planning for September. We have selected key areas that you may find it helpful to focus on, and have collated some helpful resources and guidance around to support you:


    1. When did your staff last receive training? All staff involved in delivering your chosen programme should be able to teach it confidently.
    2. Assessment – Is letter-sound knowledge and word reading assessed regularly (every term /half term)?
    3. Check if you have the necessary systems in place to provide daily tutoring (one to one or small groups) for those children who fall behind;
    4. Are you continuing to use your programme until all children can read fluently. Because of the pandemic and missed schooling this could mean continuing to use the programme with children into Y3 and beyond; and
    5. Check if you have the necessary resources and matched decodable storybooks to get the best from your chosen programme.

£650 million additional funding

We appreciate that with many competing priorities, deciding how best to invest the one-off grant to deliver maximum impact for children in your school, may be difficult. We would recommend that investing some or all of this money in phonics/literacy catch-up, would be a wise investment, resulting in impact across the curriculum. We have put together some suggestions of how you could use this money most effectively;

The above is not an exhaustive list and every school is unique but we hope this gives you ideas of how you could use this funding to good effect to boost phonics in your school.

Further support and what next

We hope you will find our tips and guidance documents useful in helping you to think through any changes you may need to put in place or prioritise ready for the autumn term.
We are currently working on audit tools, similar to those used in our programme, to help schools to self evaluate their phonics practice and also reading for pleasure. These audits will help you to pinpoint areas for development to improve performance and get the best results for your children, we hope to have these ready to send to you early in the autumn term.
We look forward to getting back in touch in September to let you know what further support the hub network will be able to offer you once we are all back in the classroom. In the meantime, please get in touch with your local hub in the first instance if you have any questions. Details of your nearest hub can be found on this website; Your local hub will either be able to provide support directly, or sign-post you to other support across the network.

Please see below our guidance documents.

Other Resources


Other sources of help and support you may wish to access over the summer could include:

 *SSP programmes currently validated by the English Hubs programme are Bug Club Phonics, Floppy’s Phonics, Jolly Phonics, Letters and Sounds, Phonics International, Read Write Inc., Sounds Discovery, Sounds-Write


Decodable Readers
Mix-and-Match Q & A
Handling Books Safely