Category Archives: EducationCovenant

‘Reading Matters’ brings together those passionate about Closing the Literacy Gap

A locally-based charity who work to improve reading skills and life chances for young people held their annual literacy conference last week.

This year’s conference was created to address the issue of ‘Closing the Literacy Gap’ and how to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve the same as their more fortunate peers.

Popular children’s authors, Tom Palmer and Andy Seed both presented at the conference speaking about ways to make reading more accessible for all children and the role that authors can play in igniting a love of reading.

The conference keynote speech was delivered by Bradford-born Matt Bromley, a leading education writer and consultant who was able to raise his own aspirations and academic achievement above those expected by his circumstances by becoming an avid reader.

Matt spoke of the importance of reading for pleasure on social mobility and how the “word rich” will inevitably become more affluent and the “word poor” more impoverished. He implored teachers, as those who have the “superpower” of being literate and loving books to pass it on and stressed the value of parents reading to their children at home.

The highlight of the day was when children from two Bradford schools – Dixon’s Kings Academy and Bowling Park Primary School spoke to the enthralled delegates about how their Reading Leaders training had helped them to improve the confidence and reading ability of their younger reading partners.

The Reading Leaders training which prepares older pupils to provide effective one to one reading support to the younger ones is a great way to engage children from disadvantaged backgrounds who often learn better from other young people.

The other expert speakers were Dr Paula Clarke of The University of Leeds who shared strategies for teaching language comprehension to support those that struggle, Deborah Bullivant of the Grimm and Co social enterprise in Rotherham that uses an apothecary shop as the inspiration for creative writing and Rachel Van Riel who shared tips on how to make library spaces for children as attractive and accessible as possible.

Workshops covered topics relevant to ‘Closing the Literacy Gap’ including the best support for those with English as an additional language and using comics to enhance learning.

Over 150 people attended the conference, mainly teachers from primary and secondary schools along with librarians, learning mentors and other education professionals with some travelling from as far as London to be part of this motivating event.

Rachel Kelly, Chief Executive of Reading Matters said: “It was a really inspiring and enjoyable day and it’s so great to bring together all these people who are dedicated to doing their best for children and helping them to reach their potential”.

Reading Matters has been helping young people to read with confidence and enthusiasm since 1997 and provides schools with Reading Mentors in South and West Yorkshire. Their accredited training courses are available nationwide for peer mentors, education professionals and parents.

The charity, which specialises in one to one reading support for young struggling and relucatant readers currently helps around 6,800 children each year with an average improvement in reading age of 13 months in just 10 hours.

For more information please see the charity’s website: www.readingmatters.org.uk

Follow Reading Matters on Twitter:  @reading_matters

 

 

District looks to develop its Early Help arrangements for families

Bradford Council plans to work with agencies across the District to extend ways in which it can provide Early Help for families who are in the greatest need of support.

Early Help is a way of giving families the support they need as quickly as possible when problems emerge. It means services working together to find solutions to small problems before they become big ones.

By taking this approach, the Council and its partners are able to:
• Provide the right help for those who need it most.
• Help families to help themselves where this is possible.
• Make sure limited resources are used in the best way possible.

The Early Help approach has already been developed for some services. The new proposals would look to extend this for a wider range of services for families and children and young people. This would include maternal health, parenting support, and early education take-up and ensuring young people have positive things to do. It would also look to tackle problem areas such as parental mental ill health, domestic violence and substance misuse

The proposals would look to bring different services closer together to improve information sharing and reduce duplication. This would provide clearer access to families most in need and would help them get more effective support. It would do this by:
• Improving how we deliver help so we can stop families getting stuck and help them make clear progress towards improved lives.
• Improving family support by making it clear what help is available.
• Making it easier for families to find services so they only have to tell their story once.
• Building on the Council’s Families First approach so we have one family, one plan and one key worker so we help families to receive the right support at the right time.
• Finding more ways to help families and communities help themselves.

The new model will look to deliver services more locally across a number of ‘clusters’. This is an approach that is already in place for some services such as children’s centres.

The Council plans to engage with families, partner organisations and staff over the summer about the best ways to deliver services before a more formal consultation on proposals takes place in the autumn.

Coun Val Slater, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “There are many families across our district who need help and support. Demand for this help is growing at a time when funding is reducing. This means we will need to do things differently in the future if we are to deliver the services that our communities need.

“These proposals will look at how all the agencies who deliver services can work together to provide better targeted help at the earliest opportunity when problems first emerge in a person’s life. This can offer better outcomes for children and families and can also help us avoid expensive care at a later stage. We want to talk to families and providers about the best ways we can deliver services.”

Winners revealed at the Bradford School Awards

Hundreds of teachers, support staff and representatives of the district’s schools attended the Telegraph & Argus School Awards Ceremony to celebrate the stars of Bradford education and the good work being done in Bradford’s schools.

The Leadership Award went to the late Gareth Dawkins, who passed away last year. Mr Dawkins had worked as principal of Bradford Academy since 2007 and previously led Challenge College in the city. The award was presented to his two sons and Bradford Academy’s current principal Tehmina Hashmi who paid tribute to him.

 The Secondary Teacher of the Year was awarded to Zaheer Jaffary, a PE teacher at Carlton Bolling College.  Zaheer was nominated for his work with its girls’ cricket team in the school. Since he set up the team three years ago, it has achieved numerous awards, as well as breaking cultural stereotypes.

The Primary Teacher of the Year was awarded to Elizabeta Butkovic, of St John’s CE Primary in Bierley.  Mrs Butkovic fled her home during the Balkan crisis in the 1980s, ending up in Bradford. A teacher in her home country, she dreamed of once again teaching, and learned English, gaining qualifications and securing a job at St John’s 18 years ago.

Elizabeta Butkovic, who fled Balkan crisis in the 1980s, wins Primary school teacher award
Elizabeta Butkovic, who fled Balkan crisis in the 1980s, wins Primary school teacher award

The Community Involvement Award, which recognises the work schools do to create stronger links with the wider community was awarded to  The Syrian Action Team, pupils and staff at Dixons City Academy who organised events for refugees living in Bradford.

The School Improvement Award went to Farnham Primary School, an inner city school where many pupils start not being able to speak English, after being ranked as “outstanding” by Ofsted inspectors last year.

The Achievement Award went to Horton Park Primary School, which has become one of the best performing primary schools in the district for the progress its pupils make.

Horton Park Primary wins achievement award at #bfdschoolawards
Horton Park Primary wins achievement award at #bfdschoolawards

The Newcomer of the Year Award went to Naomi Simpson, who works at Hazelbeck Special School in Bingley and is in her first year of teaching.

The Support Staff Member of the Year was awarded to Lynne Dobson, who has been teaching the children of Peel Park Primary School art for years.

The Voluntary Contribution Award went to Lesley Matthews, a Beanstalk reading volunteer at Atlas Primary School.  Lesley said she hoped to encourage other people to become volunteers.

The Business in Schools Category was awarded to The Business Friends of Haworth Primary School, a project that sees the school working with local businesses to give children real world business experience at an early age.

The Science and Technology Award went to Joe Ryan and Buttershaw Business and Enterprise College for the work being done to boost Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths at the school

Finally, the Governor of the Year Award went to Jackie Walters, who has been on the governing body at Newby Primary School for over 25 years.

Parkside School teenagers host birthday tea for 90-year-old villager

Sixth form students from Parkside School laid on afternoon tea for Jeffrey Roberts, one of Cullingworth village’s oldest residents to celebrate his 90th birthday.

A few days before the event the students assisted Jeffrey’s wife, Audrey, with the preparations for the celebration which was held at Cullingworth Thursday Club.

The students involved in the preparations were Cameron Allatt, Sophie Tankard, Charlotte Burton and Sophie Wood.

Parkside School sixth form has a long connection with the village’s club for senior citizens, and took over responsibility for running it when it was threatened with closure after 50 years. Students volunteer their time each week to help run sessions.

Follow us on Twitter:   @ParksideCulling

 

Working together to improve education

Headteachers, businesses and community leaders from across the district met at a special breakfast conference this week to look at practical ways of working to together to raise education attainment.

The conference focused on Bradford’s Education Covenant, which looks at how everyone in our community can work together to help drive up education standards across the District.

The covenant sets out what the Council needs to do to raise education achievement, and where the community can help. The covenant’s education ‘ask’ wants schools, pupils, parents, governors and businesses to see how they can help in supporting children and young people’s education.

The conference looked at practical steps that businesses, schools and the community can take to make a difference, whether it’s providing work placements or helping with volunteering.

Coun Imran Khan, Portfolio Holder for education, employment and skills, said: “We’ve made good progress on many areas of our education covenant and the Government has recently recognised Bradford as a place of educational opportunity. We need to live up to this expectation and this conference is about bringing together sectors of our community to look at practical steps we can all take to help raise education standards. We have a young and vibrant district with huge potential and whole of Bradford needs to come together to realise that potential and play a part in the districts education success.”

Michael Jameson, Strategic Director of Children’s Services, said: “Learning starts at birth and continues for life, both inside and outside the classroom. The covenant is a way in which we can make sure we have a joined up approach to the whole range of education our children receive.  It takes a community to raise a child and everyone has a role to play.”