A MAJOR campaign to get Oxfordshire reading has been launched by Oxfordshire County Council, backed 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 find out about the first training sessions about to start for teaching assistants.

THE first training sessions for the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign will take place next week.
To date 44 schools have signed up to the Oxford Mail-backed campaign, which is aimed at improving reading standards among the county’s young people. 
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, introductory training sessions on the reading scheme being used for the programme will be held at the King’s Centre, Oxford.
Education consultants Claire Warner and Ruth Dollner will be carrying out the training, which has space for 32 teaching assistants in each session.
Participating schools can send one teaching assistant for the whole day, and a teacher or member of senior management for the morning.
Programme manager Leena O’Hara said: “We are really going to be focusing on the school strand, setting up the reading intervention in school and making sure teachers have identified appropriate pupils to participate.
“It’s also important to get parents to agree to their children taking part and knowing how best to support them.”
Three schools have volunteered to host some of the training sessions, Windmill Primary in Oxford, Stephen Freeman in Didcot and Edward Feild in Kidlington, with the idea being to provide training locations serving different areas of the county.
Along with the specific training on the reading intervention scheme Project X Code, there will also be three days of continuing professional development for Year 1 and 2 teachers.
The first of these will take place at the King’s Centre on Monday, November 12, at Stephen Freeman; Wednesday, November 14, at Edward Feild, and Thursday, November 15, at the King’s Centre.
Each school can send two teachers along to these sessions.
A further six training mornings will be held at the three schools before the end of term.
Then there will be two more full days of continuing professional development in each setting between January and June, and three morning teacher assistant sessions.
Ms O’Hara said: “This is an optional programme for schools with no duty on the schools to take part.
“It is also a two year commitment in a climate where there is lots of change for schools so I am really impressed so many have come on board.”