Schools raring to go after training begins

Oxford Mail: Claire Warner with Caroline Lilley and Ruth Denton Buy this photo Claire Warner with Caroline Lilley and Ruth Denton

A MAJOR campaign to get Oxfordshire reading has been launched by Oxfordshire County Council, back by the Oxford Mail. The authority has set aside more than half a million pounds for the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign. The goal is for a dramatic increase in the proportion of children achieving the higher levels at Key Stage 1 reading, which are taken by seven-year-olds, and to foster a life-long love of reading. The campaign, run by the National Literacy Trust, will see an army of volunteers being sent in to read with the children who need the most help in 81 focus schools, plus a range of school improvement measures including training at all levels. Today we look at the start of the training.

 

 

 

SCHOOLS taking part in the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign are ready to start work in the classroom after the first training sessions were held.

The Oxford Mail-backed reading campaign was launched in September, and is aimed at improving educational performance for young people throughout the county. Across three days, representatives from the 45 schools taking part in the first wave received specific training on the Project X Code intervention at the King’s Centre, Osney Mead, last week. Project X Code is a programme that uses phonics to improve pupils’ reading ability.

Teaching assistants received a full day’s briefing, while teachers and literacy subject co-ordinators were invited along for the morning to get an overview of how the programme will work. The sessions were run by school improvement consultants Claire Warner and Ruth Dollner. Mrs Warner said: “The training went very well and the evaluations were extremely positive. “The overall aim was to introduce the intervention programme and particularly talk about phonics, and reading comprehension and the fact they are both very important for children to become readers.”

Staff were given details about how the programme worked, how to manage it in school, and there was also opportunity to ask questions, discuss it with other teaching assistants and teachers, and carry out hands-on activities relating to the scheme. Mrs Warner said: “We wanted them to go away absolutely confident in the intervention programme, how to run it, how to use it with children and how to make it a success and make a difference to children’s reading which is the ultimate aim.

They went out enthusiastic and ready to start and were very keen.” Feedback from those taking part described the scheme as exciting and the training as informative, providing a chance to bounce ideas off each other. Each teaching assistant will receive four more half day sessions at two to three week intervals, which will go into greater depth about teaching phonics, reading comprehension and vocabulary development.

Mrs Warner said many of the teachers and teaching assistants were familiar with the Project X books, a series of books for children who are not motivated to read. But less had come into contact with Project X Code, which is an intervention programme with graded books worked through systematically to address phonics and comprehension as well as enjoyment. Ms Dollner said: “It was heartening to see everyone eager to return to school and to make an immediate start.”

THE CAMPAIGN

The Oxfordshire Reading Campaign was launched by Oxfordshire County Council, backed by the Oxford Mail, to improve reading standards in the youngest children. The goals are to:
 

  • Improve the proportion of children who reach Level 2B at Key Stage 1 to 86 per cent – a rise of 12 percentage points.
  • Increase enjoyment of and confidence in reading.
     
  • Eighty-one schools across the county, chosen based on Key Stage 1 results over the past three years, are being invited to take part.
     
  • The campaign is being run by the National Literacy Trust and will involve:
     
  • A reading intervention programme called Project X Code working with Year 2 children in up to 81 county primaries.
     
  • Volunteers coming in to schools to read one-to-one with the children involved in the Project X Code programme.
     
  • Training and professional development for teachers, teaching assistants, literacy co-ordinators and headteachers.

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