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.
[Pictured above: Pupils from Dixons Marchbank Primary School celebrating World Book Day]
Children from schools across the District will be celebrating their love of reading and books by taking part in World Book Day today.
Whether you grew up with Charlotte’s Web and the friendship that grows between Wilbur, a runty pig, and Charlotte, a heroic spider, the Famous Five or Harry Potter; there is nothing quite like delving into a good book.
And for many it blossoms into a love that lasts a lifetime. This is why World Book Day has become the annual celebration of books and reading and the time to encourage children to discover the magic inside the pages.
The event was first marked in the UK in 1997 amid concerns over reading and writing standards in schools.
World Book Day marks its 20th anniversary this year and organisers say the event is ‘a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and, most importantly, reading’. The main aim of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.
Schools and nurseries are sent packs of Book Tokens and age-ranged World Book Day Resource Packs full of ideas and activities, display material and more information about how to get involved in World Book Day.
Thanks to the generosity of National Book Tokens Ltd some 15 million book tokens will be distributed. Children can take their voucher to a local bookseller and use it to pick one of ten exclusive, new and completely free books. Or, if they’d rather, they can use it to get £1 off any book or audio book costing over £2.99 at a participating bookshop or book club.
Since the campaign began, around 13 million £1 books have ended up in the hands of eager young readers.
This year’s 10 offerings cater for all ages from pre-school through to young adults in a bid to give as many as possible the chance to join in the fun. The titles for the nation’s youngest book lovers feature beloved characters Peppa Pig and extra-terrestrials from the Aliens Love Underpants series.
For readers at Key Stage 1, Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks has contributed a new Princess Mirror-Belle title and Martin Handford has made one of his Where’s Wally? adventures available.
They can also pick up some tips from Horrid Henry or catch up with the Famous Five, whereas Key Stage 2 readers are able to enjoy something new from beloved British authors David Walliams or Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Young Adult titles will come from Michael Grant and David Almond.
Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said:
“We hope that World Book Day celebrated in schools creates readers for the future by igniting a love of books and reading in children and young people. Bradford Council’s
A joint early years project in Bradford has raised low development levels in reception-aged children.
The Early Language and Literacy Project was created by our Early Childhood Services and the National Literacy Trust’s Bradford Hub, in partnership with the Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School Alliance and the Innovation Centre Bradford (TICB). The project was rolled out to eight Bradford primary schools, with children’s centres across the district also being invited to take part, which promoted opportunities for joint working and information sharing between them and the schools.
The programme had a significant impact on the eight Bradford schools who took part.
The Good Level of Development scores across the eight schools increased by 12%
The gap between boys and girls achieving a Good Level of Development score narrowed by 18%
The programme was launched in response to the low GLD scores achieved by Bradford children, an issue which was particularly pronounced in schools in Bradford’s most deprived neighbourhoods. There was also a significant gap between genders, with boys achieving significantly lower GLD scores than girls.
The Early Language and Literacy Project is a three-strand approach which supports schools to address their low development levels. The three programme strands are focused on training and supporting teachers at eight different Bradford schools. The programme included:
An Early Writing CPD course for teachers, where they learnt about what encourages young children’s writing and developed strategies to build on that knowledge
Workshops on the ‘Sharing Stories Together’ initiative, which is a project aimed at building up parents’ skills as storytellers, which the teachers could then adapt for their classrooms
A Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) course, which is a course designed to look at how teachers and practitioners can better engage dads and male carers in children’s early literacy
Imran Hafeez, Manager of the National Literacy Trust’s Hub in Bradford, said:
“The results from the pilot are very encouraging and have demonstrated the value of partnership working. We were clear that we wanted a programme to support practitioners in the classroom and at the same time strengthen links with parents through tools like sharing stories and fathers reading to their children. This has encouraged schools to shine a positive light on the value of parental involvement in supporting reading and writing for enjoyment and develop stronger links as a result. In the next year we look forward to working with another 10 primary schools and presenting the programme to the education endowment fund”.
Chris Tolson, Head of Teaching and Learning at Bradford Birth to 19Teaching School Alliance, said:
“This first phase of this project saw system leaders deployed to support class teachers and provide school-to-school support. This way of working proved very effective and was a key ingredient to the project’s success. It is a great example of partnership working and shows how leaders and teachers can support each other to improve outcomes for pupils across Bradford.”
Lynn Donohue, Early Years Strategic Manager at Bradford Council, said:
“As a result of our annual thorough analysis of pupil performance at the end of reception year it was clear that, although the performance of our 5 year-olds is improving strongly in Bradford, there was still some low pupil performance in reading and writing and for some groups of pupils. We identified that the gap between the performance of boys and girls was increasing and the gap between pupils eligible for free school meals and non-free school meals was not closing. This piece of work has enabled us to really target resource and expertise in the design and development of this intervention through our delivery partners. The first pilot in 2015-16 has resulted in some early evidence of success and already delivered improved outcomes for our young children; as a result of this, we are engaging in a second year with our partners.’
The winners of a poetry competition who penned verse about life in Bradford now have their entries on display inside 100 local First West Yorkshire buses.
More than 100 budding bards across Bradford entered the ‘Love Bradford’ poetry competition run by the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford in partnership with First West Yorkshire, the Telegraph & Argus and the Kirkgate Shopping Centre. The competition aimed to inspire and motivate reluctant writers, especially boys, to do more creative writing.
The winning poems were judged by local poet, Joolz Denby and National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford Manager, Imran Hafeez and are now on display as posters inside 100 First Buses, across Bradford. There were two categories, one for entrants in Year 3 to Year 5 and the other for pupils in Year 6 to Year 8.
The winners are Caiomhe Richards, aged 11, for her poem ‘Memories’, and Suma Abdulla, aged 10, for her poem ‘Big Beautiful Bradford.’ They also won vouchers to spend at Kirkgate Shopping Centre and had their poems published in the Telegraph & Argus.
Colin Brushwood, Operations Manager at First Bradford, comments: “At First Bus we strive to support our local community, and we were inspired to get behind the competition by the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford to celebrate the talents of young poets across the region. It’s a privilege to have Caiomhe and Suma’s work on display on 100 of our buses, and we’re sure they’ll bring a smile to our passengers in Bradford.”
Imran Hafeez, Manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford said: “The National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford is all about providing fun ways to improve literacy skills across the area. Poetry is a powerful way for young people to express themselves which is why we are working with children and families through events, programmes and campaigns to inspire them to give creative writing a go. We hope that seeing their poems published for passengers to read on their journeys will encourage Caiomhe and Suma to continue writing for enjoyment.”
The National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford is a local solution to intergenerational low literacy in the district, working with Bradford Council to forge innovative partnerships with a range of sectors including business, sport, culture and health as well as voluntary and faith groups. The long-term initiative harnesses community assets to address poverty and unemployment through campaigning and targeted interventions to address priority areas. For more information, see here.
Welcome to the fourteenth edition of Educate Positive, a regular publication which highlights the educational excellence in education and across the district’s schools and settings. In this edition we look at the impact being made on young people’s literacy, two teachers from Steeton Primary who have been learning about the education system in Italy, as well as a Titus Salt student achieving the highest score in the country in Chemistry.
Titus Salt student receives top award
This publication has previously reported about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) provision and success at Titus Salt School.
Another example of how this provision impacts on its students is the success of Year 12 student, Nicole Mitchell, (pictured) who not only received the highest possible award in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, but also achieved the highest score in the country!
The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge aims to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry. The challenge takes students significantly beyond the syllabus and encourages them to think about science in the way they would at university. Nicole’s first rate performance enabled her to attend a residential Chemistry camp at the University of Cambridge during the summer holidays. Well done Nicole.
Quality Mark awarded to Visual Impairment Team
Bradford Council’s Visual Impairment Team which is part of the sensory service was awarded a quality mark for the work they do in supporting children and young people with visual impairment across the Bradford District.
The award is made by regional heads of visual impairment services across Yorkshire and the Humber. It follows a lengthy assessment process which includes self evaluation and a whole day assessment by four external assessors.
There are 39 visual impairment staff working across the District. Pupils with the severest vision loss attend two special centres which have additional resources at primary and secondary level. The team works with 179 children on the active caseload. The team also supports children and young people whose vision is less severely affected. Pictured above is the Visual Impairment Team.
For further information please contact Anne Lomas, T 01274 439266.
Impact of the National Literacy Hub in Bradford
Standards in literacy are on the up says the National Literacy Trust, the charity behind the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford.
Bradford is one of three hubs set up with the National Literacy Trust to provide coordinated literacy provision at a local level to drive up literacy levels in order to increase educational attainment, employability skills and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for our young people.
A report published by the charity shows that more of the Bradford district’s young people wrote either on a daily basis or a few times a week outside of the school day, which is higher than pupils regionally and nationally:
The National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford has engaged with the media on a number of elements showcasing the work being done to improve literacy across the district. The involvement with the media is an opportunity to increase awareness about the importance of literacy and to engage parents in their children’s literacy development. High profile figures in the district including the Chief Executive of Bradford Bulls, a Bradford City player and a local boxer have all played their part in communicating the importance of improving children’s reading and writing skills.
For almost nine years teenagers in Bradford have been able to improve their reading skills thanks to the Bradford Libraries Teen Reading Group which was started back in December 2007. The scheme was as a result of the Fulfilling their Potential (FtP) Project, which looked at ways to engage young people in libraries. At the time there was no other such reading group targeted specifically at teenagers (12 – 14 year olds) and certainly none that brought together teenagers from various backgrounds and age groups. Adult book groups had proved to be very successful and the need for teenagers to have their own book groups became apparent, through consultation work undertaken with teenagers in five secondary schools in Bradford since June 2005.
Reading helps young people to cope with the pressures of life, feel better about themselves and boosts confidence – all of which the Teen Reading Group can offer. This group has proved to be a success story for Bradford Libraries. It has met regularly every month since 2007, maintaining a core group of between 6 to 9 teenagers, meeting on a monthly basis. The initial cohort did fit the age group of 12 to 14 years but then many of the group wanted to continue. It was decided to open up the age range to older teenagers and now the group is open to 12 to 18 year olds. Both this and the fact it offers a reading group for teens from all over the district and from different backgrounds has increased its popularity and success.
In October 2016 the Teen Reading Group is going to Ilkley Literature Festival and also the Alhambra to see “A Tale of Two Cities”, so another busy year is on the horizon. The group will reach its 10th Birthday in December 2017 and we look forward to celebrating ten years of supporting teen reading.
For more information please contact Christinea Donnelly, T 01274 433915.
When in Rome…..
Pupils in Steeton are learning about education in Italy following a job-shadowing visit by two of their teachers to a school in Rome.
Teachers Diana Linford and Wendy Hardcastle from Steeton Primary School visited a school in Rome to see what schools in Italy are like. They worked with three Roman schools: IC Ferraironi, Romolo Balzani and Pisacane on a number of international eTwinning projects over the last few years.
Their pupils have studied ‘Farming around Europe’ and the two World Wars together. The teachers received funding for the visit from Erasmus+, which provides money for staff and students to visit other schools in Europe, for education and training.
For further information please contact John Cooper, headteacher, T 01535 653315.
Travelling safely students are awarded
Two students from Beechcliffe Special School are now able to travel alone following training they attended which taught them the tasks and skills associated with travelling independently.
Kieron and Harris, who are both 17 years old, attended the Travel Training at Bradford Council’s Shearbridge Depot.
Travel training is a structured and planned course of training which helps children and young people make their first step towards independence.
The Travel Training Unit works with disabled and non-disabled children and young people who require support, assistance, mentoring and training to plan and use walking routes and all forms of public transport including buses and trains.
The Travel Training Unit supports children and young people on a one-to-one basis or in small groups planning and practising journeys. They also help with learning associated tasks and skills to enable students to travel independently to and from school.
The picture shows Kieron and Harris being presented with a special ‘six months safe’ award by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Coun Geoff Reid and the Lady Mayoress, Chris Reid. You
Girlington Primary School and the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford ran the Premier League Reading Stars (PLRS) programme during the summer term. Assistant Headteacher, Daniel Walker hoped the programme would help to improve the reading ability and attitudes of pupils in Year 5 and Year 6.
He said: “At the launch of the programme in the school assembly, we told pupils that they must write a letter to apply for a place on the team. Eleven pupils were chosen because we felt that they would benefit the most from taking part.”
An area in the school library was set up as the PLRS team corner, with tasks and a stadium poster on the wall to track their successes in the different challenges.. Throughout the programme, Mr Walker used a range of techniques to create and maintain and sense of inclusion and team spirit:
“The pupils were allowed to wear their football kits on PLRS days and we also let them take penalty shots with me in goal as a reward for completing challenges. We also offered some football coaching and chances to play matches after the sessions.”
At each fixture the boys quizzed each other about the books they’d read and their interpretations and ideas. Mr Walker said the group made significant progress by taking part in PLRS:
“All boys who took part in the programme made more than expected progress in reading. Two boys made two sub levels of progress, which is the equivalent of more than a year’s expected progress in one term. One boy made dramatic progress of a whole level (3 sub-levels) in a term.”
Participating in PLRS also had a huge impact on the attitudes of the boys, who were very enthusiastic about the programme. Each boy was able to name their favourite book and spoke in great detail about the different activities and reading challenges they had taken part in.
When asked why they thought their reading had improved, persistence was identified as a strong reason. Several of the group described how previously they would skip over difficult words but now they would look them up online or ask a teacher or parents to help them. They all agreed that they now wanted to understand what they were reading rather than just doing it because they had too. One boy commented:
“I used to find it hard to have a picture in my head of what was going on and I would give up. Now I keep trying. Sometimes I have to re-read some of the books to get there”.
As well as reading, several members of the group also identified positive effects the programme had had on their writing. One boy said that his handwriting was getting better because he had more that he wanted to say, so he was doing more writing and getting better. They all agreed that their vocabulary had also improved, as they knew and used more descriptive words.
The team aspect of the programme was a clear highlight for many of the boys.
Families are being encouraged to visit Bradford’s best known landmarks as part of a quiz which aims to improve children’s literacy.
The Bradford Literacy Campaign has teamed up with the National Media Museum and Bradford Libraries to launch a fun literacy activity for families called the Bradford Walk and Talk Trail Quiz which celebrates the city’s architecture and culture by quizzing families during a day out in the city.
The quiz sheet features questions on some of Bradford’s favourite gems including the iconic Bradford Alhambra, the fascinating National Media Museum and the beautiful Bradford Wool Exchange which are designed to spark conversation whilst families are walking around the city centre together. The quiz also includes Bradford’s fantastic City Library to encourage families to join. Families who hand in their completed quizzes to City Library or their local library have the chance of winning a stack of books from Walker Books.
The Bradford Walk and Talk Trail Quiz sheets are available in the National Media Museum and Bradford’s City Library. A PDF can also be downloaded to print here.
Imran Hafeez, Manager of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the National Media Museum and Bradford Libraries on this fantastic activity for supporting children’s speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Museums and libraries are a vital part of children’s education and we hope that the quiz will encourage more families to visit the National Media Museum and join their local library.
Questions on Bradford city centre’s amazing architecture and culture provide inspiration for conversations on family days out which will help develop children’s communication skills. We hope families will enjoy spotting details and learning more about their city in this fun new way.”
The quiz also includes Bradford’s fantastic City Library to encourage families to join in.