School and College Literacy Initiatives 

The challenges facing our schools are best understood by the teachers and staff at the schools themselves. For this reason, we launched a literacy fund of £250k which all early years providers, schools and colleges are able to apply for, to implement evidence based approaches to improve literacy.

So far we have commissioned five projects:

1) Destination Reader

Destination Reader is a programme developed by Hackney Learning Trust to improve the teaching of reading. Feedback from over 100 schools currently using Destination Reader has shown dramatic improvement in the quality of reading lessons at key stage two. Children read with greater understanding, independence and, above all, enjoy reading more.

This programme will reach over 1,000 pupils at The Baird Primary Academy, Churchwood Primary Academy, Hollington Primary Academy, Robsack Wood Primary Academy and

Silverdale Primary Academy.  Other schools in Hastings are already using this programme, and All Saints CE Junior School is a partner school for the programme.

The goals are to:

  • Raise attainment and progress in reading so that more pupils overall reach the expected standard and acquire greater depth in reading
  • Close the gaps in reading attainment and progress between disadvantaged pupils and their peers nationally

2) Easy Peasy

EasyPeasy is a parenting app for parents and carers of 2-6 year old children that encourages positive play and interaction at home through game ideas. The project aims to improve children’s self-regulation and communication and language skills. The project will:

  • Launch the free app in each of the eight primaries (below)
  • Provide parents with training workshops on how to use and interact with the app
  • Offer parents further home learning activities that will support language and communication development
  • Schools will offer ‘stay and play’ afternoons, inviting parents to play with their child in the structured environment whilst receiving advice and guidance from teaching staff.

This project aims to raise attainment in communication, language and self-regulation

skills in 3 – 6 year olds at Ark Castledown Primary Academy, Ark Blacklands Primary Academy, Ark Little Ridge Primary Academy, The Baird Primary Academy, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School, Robsack Wood Primary Academy, Torfield School, West St Leonard’s Primary Academy, Silverdale Primary Academy and Dudley Infant Academy.

3) Mind the (word) gap

Children that have a reduced vocabulary – a ‘word gap’ – can struggle to achieve success in school and beyond. The aim of the project is to reduce the attainment gap in reading at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 by improving vocabulary skills through a teacher research group approach. The group will review the research on this issue and develop approaches to improve pupils’ vocabulary.

Children will be actively supported, through quality teaching, to improve their comprehension skills and fluency. This will enable them to become more confident readers and to access better the wider curriculum.

The ultimate aim of this project is to improve the pupils vocabulary and literacy at Sandown Primary School, Ore Village Primary Academy, The Hastings Academy and St Paul’s CE Primary Academy.

4.) Teacher training inset day

We are funding teachers to attend an inset day for all primary schools across Hastings to support them to increase children’s engagement and attainment in reading across reception and key stage one. Teachers attending the course will learn how to improve children’s fluency in reading and their comprehensive of challenging texts. They will also learn about how to support children to develop into confident, competent and motivated readers. Training will be delivered by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education

5.) Teaching assistant comprehension training

On the same inset day, teaching assistants from across Hastings will benefit from a 1 day reading comprehension training. The aims of the training are to build teaching assistants knowledge and skills to teach reading comprehension for children and young people with SEND. Training will be delivered by the Driver Youth Trust.