The DfE has announced that the scope of the government’s phonics initiative has been broadened to include all state funded schools, academies and free schools with Key Stage 2 pupils. To meet this new demand, ESPO, one of the UK’s largest public sector professional buying organisations, is sending them ‘The Importance of Phonics 2’ catalogue which includes over 1200 systematic synthetic phonics products and training, all of which are fully approved by DfE for use with Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 pupils. The catalogue also includes a number of local authorities that are making their services available through the government’s match funding initiative for the first time. The match funding deadline has also been extended to 31st October 2013.
“ESPO has played a pivotal role in the success of the government’s phonic initiative, which has raised our profile in the education marketplace. Schools, academies and free schools now have access to a wider range of educational products and resources and can buy direct from ESPO regardless of location,” commented ESPO. “The DfE is encouraging schools to take advantage of the match-funding by the end of March 2013 and extending the deadline to October will give them more time to buy systematic synthetic phonics products and training.”
Under the government’s scheme, any qualifying state-funded school with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils can claim up to £3,000 match funding to buy phonics products and training until 31st October 2013. ESPO has been the lead organisation in the development of this initiative working in partnership with the DfE and has been responsible for running the tendering processes for all products and training courses in the catalogue and distributing it to all qualifying schools throughout England.
ESPO has also pioneered a simpler way for schools to order phonic products. It has taken the complexity out of the match funding process by making it easier for schools to order and maximise available funding before the scheme closes. ESPO manages the whole process on behalf of schools and only invoices for 50% of the cost for each product purchased, up to their maximum match funding limit. This eliminates the need for schools to either submit individual claims or wait to be reimbursed by the DfE for products purchased.