Building on the success of its literacy programme to date, the Hastings Opportunity Area, funded by the Department for Education, is delighted to announce today funding of a further £160k to further embed literacy programmes in schools in Hastings. The funding will allow schools to continue to develop projects that have already seen a positive impact on literacy. This will be of particular benefit to those children who have lost significant learning due to the impact of Covid-19.

The additional funding will also enable other schools in Hastings to implement those programmes that are having a positive impact on improving children and young people’s literacy. Across Hastings, over 20 schools will now be able to implement programmes that evidence has shown, have a significant impact on improving literacy.

Today, Hastings Opportunity Area is hosting a virtual literacy conference, with leaders from schools in the town and from across East Sussex. The aim of the day is to share learning across the different projects and to review how programmes that are proving to be particularly successful can be further embedded across schools in the town.

Projects being funded by Hastings Opportunity Area in the year ahead include:

  • Continuing to fund an existing scheme to increase the skills of staff in early years settings and nurseries support children who have delayed speech and language;
  • Implementing a new initiative to support young children develop core speech and language skills in 4 schools in Hastings;
  • Embedding and sustaining a successful whole school approach to teaching literacy; ‘Destination Reader’ and ‘Daily Supported Reader’ initiatives across 8 primary schools in Hastings and to further support a wider group of schools who are already implementing the programme, to share learning and successful approaches with each other;
  • Funding a programme to support children and young people who require additional literacy support, to improve their reading skills – the ‘Accelerated Reader’ project. This year the HOA will be supporting over 11 primary schools and 3 secondary schools to implement the programme.

Richard Meddings, Chair of Hastings Opportunity Area Board, said:

‘We are delighted that we are able to support so many schools and early years settings across Hastings building on the existing work that many were already engaged in to deliver really robust and effective approaches to teaching literacy.  Since 2018, we have seen real improvements in attainment in literacy for pupils in Hastings but the impact of Covid has had a significant impact on children’s literacy, with many experiencing significant learning loss as a result of lockdown.  It is vital therefore that schools get access to additional funding and support, so that they can implement programmes that have a real impact on improving literacy skills and particularly of those children who have struggled the most’

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