Home North West Internationally recognised literacy programme celebrated at Blackpool education event

Internationally recognised literacy programme celebrated at Blackpool education event

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Michelle Hicks from Lexonik (centre) with South Shore Academy students (l to r) Polly-Ann; Bradley; Wojciech and Libby

Internationally recognised literacy programme, Lexonik, has been praised by Blackpool’s head teachers for its work with children from areas of high deprivation in the North West, particularly focusing on its work in the region.

Stephen Tierney, CEO at Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust (BEBCMAT), Executive Headteacher at St. Mary’s Catholic College & Christ the King Catholic Primary School and Chair of the Headteachers’ Roundtable Group, has particularly commended the programme for its work with more than 700 students across nine Blackpool schools.

A special education event was held at South Shore Academy to showcase Lexonik’s work in the region as part of the Government’s Opportunities Areas project, which is supported by the Blackpool Headteacher’s Group and the charity, Right to Succeed.

A number of fully-funded literacy programmes were offered to the schools involved in the project, and all nine opted to work with Lexonik, following a demonstration of how reading age can be improved following the six separate hour-long sessions.

Training was provided for teachers working with Key Stage 3 students, as well as classes held directly for the students, and at the end of the programme, the average reading age of the students involved had increased by 31 months.

The Blackpool schools currently participating in the project are Armfield Academy, Aspire Academy, Educational Diversity, Highfield Leadership Academy, Montgomery High School, South Shore Academy, St George’s Church of England School, St Mary’s Catholic Academy and Unity Academy Blackpool.

Michelle Hicks, Business Growth Manager and Lexonik tutor, said: “We were delighted that Stephen Tierney and the other members of the Blackpool Headteacher’s Group have been so supportive of Lexonik’s work in Blackpool, and we hope this will encourage more schools in the North West to follow their lead and invest in literacy training, particularly for Key Stage 3. It’s the age when children are pre-exam but learning skills that will set them up for later life.

“As these nine schools have recognised, literacy is essential for all school subjects, as well as in life beyond school. The Opportunities Areas project is doing fantastic work across the country, and, as we have seen in Blackpool, massive improvements can be made in a relatively short period of time. It is fantastic to see these schools getting behind the programme and planning to use it with their students for years to come.”

Stephen Tierney, CEO at BEBCMAT, said: “A key theme evolved when we were analysing attainment – students were struggling across a range of GCSEs due to poor literacy. Literacy was clearly not simply an issue within the English department, it was an underlying problem across all areas. There was unanimous acknowledgement that reading skills were not strong enough.

“Lexonik formed part of a suite of ‘active ingredients’ which we believe will have a cumulative and synergistic impact on results. Alongside students reading more, the depth and breadth of their vocabulary needed to be addressed.

“Lexonik was key in developing an understanding of words. The targeted, small group instruction appears to have significant impact, which has further assisted reading and aided comprehension across a range subjects.”

Simon Eccles, Head Teacher at St Mary’s Catholic Academy, said: “Lexonik has added a vital strand to our literacy project this year at St Mary’s. The Lexonik intervention has allowed students to explore how they use and understand key vocabulary and to approach new words with more confidence.

“In addition to this we have been able to work with our staff to help them to adapt their pedagogy to focus more on key vocabulary within their teaching. This has been a great support to the launch of the Academy’s Key Stage 3 reading programme this year where all students have been reading challenging text together during afternoon form time.”