Project to improve literacy pilots in Peterborough schools

A project to improve literacy is being piloted in schools across Peterborough.

Success for All UK, an educational charity based in the city, has in partnership with the Fischer Family Trust been working with a number of Peterborough schools on a project aimed at eradicating early literacy failure.

This can not only have a profound impact on a child’s life but has a knock-on effect on society.

To try and end the cycle, Success for All and the FFT have developed a programme called the ‘Apex Project’ which is designed to support children as early as possible in developing literacy skills.

This has been piloted in Peterborough in a number of schools which has started with them using a tutoring programme (Tutoring with the Lightning Squad) that provides the children with the opportunity to catch up on lost learning due to the pandemic.

Discovery Primary Academy in Mountsteven Avenue, Walton, has been selected to be the hub school for the project, with headteacher Michelle Siequien highly influential in supporting the roll-out of the tutoring programme across 10 further Peterborough primaries.

It is now hoped that number will grow.

Michelle said: “Discovery Primary Academy began using TWLS just after Easter. We currently have 88 children ranging from Year 1 to Year 3 accessing the intervention. They are supported for half an hour daily by senior staff, support staff and a Teach First mentor.

“It is still early days and we are only half-way through the suggested 12 week program, but we can already see the children making rapid progress through the stages of the program and their confidence in reading is growing. This is being reflected in the classroom, especially in their Success For All lessons.”

Funding for the pilot is coming from the FFT, with the schools in Peterborough either using the programme or set to use it in the autumn term.

These are:

. Discovery
. Middleton
. Longthorpe
. The Beeches
. Norwood
. Braybrook
. Dogsthorpe
. Sacred Heart
. Leighton
. Orton Wistow
. Lime Academy Parnwell.

TWLS is a reading tutoring programme where pupils work with a tutor in two co-operative pairs, taking turns as ‘reader’ and ‘coach’.

It is a blended approach with in-person tutoring supported by an online tutoring platform. The activities are designed to improve reading skills, fluency, comprehension, spelling and phonics.

Pupils learn in pairs with a tutor to improve reading skills as they work through 65 engaging and illustrated stories. Most pupils spend 12 weeks working on the tutoring programme to catch-up their reading skills, with daily 30 minute tutoring sessions in school (four pupils working with a tutor).

According to Success for All, research has demonstrated that pupils using Tutoring with the Lightning Squad make learning gains of between three and five months in reading attainment.

Peter O’Brien, director of partnerships at Success for All, said: “This type of collaboration in Peterborough will be the first of its kind and the Fischer Family Trust and Success for All are hoping that the Peterborough schools will set a precedent for other schools in the country to follow.

“The schools along with Success for All and the Fischer Family Trust are aiming to get further support from the local authority and the local MP and to grow the number of schools in the cohort which will have an even greater impact for all of the children in Peterborough.

“The emphasis for now for all of the schools involved is to create a sustainable model for growth and improvement that ensures that no child in Peterborough is left behind and will continue to ensure that the local economy and communities will benefit from it for years to come.”