Insights into vocabulary: how schools are closing the word gap


In this blog series, expert voices share their passion and commitment to vocabulary, and tell us how they are narrowing the word gap in their schools.


Faculty Head Miranda McDade explains why there is a need to explicitly teach vocabulary alongside reading for pleasure.

Read Miranda’s blog

Assistant SENDCo, Lucy Bryant offers some practical, simple ways to support vocabulary building in a Key Stage 3 classroom.

Read Lucy’s blog

Assistant Headteacher, Katy Dagnall outlines how she is addressing vocabulary needs in the classroom to bridge the word gap.

Read Katy’s blog

“Language skills are a critical factor in social disadvantage and in the intergenerational cycles that perpetuate poverty. For all teachers, there is no bigger motivator or incentive to ‘buy in to’ the importance of vocabulary teaching in both primary and secondary settings than that.”

Katy Dagnall, Assistant Headteacher

Phonics and Reading Lead, Romany Shairp details some practical ways to encourage children’s language learning in school.

Read Romany’s blog

Jo Lister shares her takeaways from a year of explicit vocabulary teaching in a secondary school.

Read Jo’s blog

“We know the average adult has the knowledge of about 30,000 words but we generally only use about 2,000 – so as teachers, we need to encourage our own use of vocabulary in order to encourage the children.”

Romany Shairp, Phonics and Reading Lead

Language for Learning Lead, Jacqui O’Reilly offers strategies and practical guidance on how you can close the vocabulary gap in secondary schools.

Read Jacqui’s blog

Jen O’Malley highlights the benefits of teaching vocabulary across subjects through a range of techniques including the learning of morphemes.

Read Jen’s blog

Trust Lead for English, Dani Towe outlines why and how all staff across the Trust are broadening and deepening their teaching of vocabulary.

Read Dani’s blog


“…our aim is not only to help to close the word gap, but to enable our young learners to see that with a wider range of words used in conversations, presentations or debates; whether writing for different audiences or writing for pleasure, the more words we know…the more to the world we can show.”

Dani Towe, Trust Lead for English

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