As a member of the group who have been working on Right to Read since the beginning I have to say that this has been an adventure rather than a journey. Starting the process and arriving at our plan was one of the most enjoyable and professionally engaging experiences I have had and I think that the whole team have felt the same.
When you are considering how to improve educational outcomes for pupils whose life experiences actively work against them achieving in line with their peers through no fault of their own you feel the overwhelming weight of responsibility upon your shoulders.
The danger is that we know so many ways that we could possibly make a difference, there is plenty of evidence about what works and the dilemma of making the decision of what to do rather than try and include all the options can crush progress. There is also the almost irresistible desire of wanting to see something tangible happening quickly, let’s face it these children don’t have time to wait for us to sort ourselves out and agree what to do.
However, what we know is that the planning phase, the time to explore and refine ideas is crucial if there is to be impact. Too often we rush into something which on the surface looks like a great initiative only to find that the outcome is so much less that we imagined it would be.
In some ways the pandemic actually played a positive role in making sure we had explored what and how we were going to approach a simple, focussed strategy. A strategy that puts the emphasis on teaching and learning in relation to one of the most powerful gifts we can give children – the ability to read and read well.
We are a living research project in our own right; we are exploring better ways of working collaboratively in terms of strategic planning and delivery. We won’t know if the Right to Read programme will be successful yet – that is all to come and there are many more elements that need to be developed and seen to completion but we have really considered the evidence at every stage to give it the best chance from the point of view of strategic implementation.
What we have learnt so far: