One Education Reading Award – flagship school

Barlow Hall Primary School in Manchester, is a flagship school for the One Education Reading Award.

This is for their provision in ‘Reading for Understanding.’ The school have received recognition for their whole school approach to reading, which is in line with the new National Curriculum. They have implemented their approach consistently across the school and the effects are evident in the school’s data, the children’s progress and, most importantly, the children’s love of reading.


Barlow Hall has been on a twelve-year journey to improve reading, through a whole school approach, using the principles of Reading Recovery.

In 2005, Barlow Hall’s end of Key Stage Two data for English was 45% at expected, which was significantly below national average. Therefore, we looked at how an intensive intervention for the lowest achieving six year olds could impact across the school through quality first teaching.

One of the driving factors in this journey was leadership commitment, including a Literacy Leadership Team who are ‘key players’ across all phases and in a variety of different roles within the school. Central to this team is the Reading Recovery Teacher, who plays an integral part of the continued professional development of staff across the school.

 “Since 2008, our reading outcomes have been in line or above national expectations. Our disadvantaged outcomes are consistently above national expectations by the time our children leave Barlow Hall. In 2016, 93% of our children achieved expected outcomes in reading, with 86% achieving reading, writing and maths combined. The Year Six cohort included 58% disadvantaged learners who all achieved expected outcomes in reading. Progress measures for reading were, +5.08, in the top 5% nationally.