Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
School happy to get on board campaign
A SCHOOL that has been on an upward trend since being removed from special measures is hoping the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign will lead youngsters on to even greater achievements.
St Christopher’s Primary School, in Temple Cowley, Oxford, has signed up for the programme in the hope more children will increase their reading skills and their understanding and enjoyment of books.
Headteacher Alison Holden said: “It is so important that we do our utmost to make sure every child that leaves this school has a minimum reading age of nine and actually has a range of reading skills that takes them through to secondary school and life after education.
“It’s not just being able to read words. It’s the comprehension, it’s reading for enjoyment and reading texts to extract information. When you get to secondary school, you haven’t got time to be learning those skills, you need to be enhancing them.”
This year 69.5 per cent of pupils achieved at least the expected Level 2 at Key Stage 1, aged seven, and 55.9 per cent reached the higher Level 2b.
About 70 per cent of pupils at the school come from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Between 35 and 40 per cent speak English as an additional language, while roughly 22 per cent have special needs.
The school already has the Project X Code books, which will be used for reading campaign work.
Mrs Holden said: “I really like the books because they seem to be trying to capture the boys a bit more than some of the other books we have used in the past.
“There’s been a lot of hype about boys’ underachievement in the past few years, but we haven’t got a lot of that now.
“That has all come out of targeting the individual child.”
A volunteer from the Reading Quest charity comes in each week to work with small groups at the school, and a number of parents read one-to-one with children.
The school has a big emphasis on guided reading, with children reading a text in a group around teachers, who monitor accuracy and decoding, and then talk about it and ask questions afterwards.
Children from the lower years work on phonics, practising letters and sounds every day.
Mrs Holden said: “Every single day, reading happens.”
A weekly homework club gives children the opportunity to read with staff and share books.
Magazines and newspapers are brought in to provide a wider variety of written material, and children are given incentives to achieve with bookmarks detailing their individual targets, plus stickers and presentations.
The school has also held workshops for parents to learn how to read to and with their children.
Literacy co-ordinator Stacey Birney said she was “really excited” about the reading campaign.
She said: “The children do love reading but for those children that struggle, it will build their confidence.
“We identify children who are achieving just below what’s expected then monitor them and meet every half term or six weeks and put interventions in place for those who are struggling.”
The school came out of special measures in May 2011.
Comments are closed on this article.