My name is Jane Kelly. I have been Executive Vice Principal at Harrow Gate Academy since January 2017 and I have taught across a range of ages for 17 years. My main role at school is as English Lead and I also work as an Associate Teacher for the CLPE. I am also in my second year of a Linguistics MA at Nottingham University. You can read more about our school in my blog on the CLPE website (under the name Jane Spence).
Reading in the North East: Your Life Depends on it.
The 2018 National Literacy Trust report, Literacy and life expectancy, outlined some stark news for us at Harrow Gate Academy. Page 27 of the report outlines,
A boy born in Stockton Town Centre (which has some of the most serious literacy challenges in the country) has a life expectancy 26.1 years shorter than a boy born in North Oxford (which has some of the fewest literacy challenges)’. In 2017 our KS2 reading ARE reading results were 40%. 60% of our children left us unable to read at a standard necessary to access their secondary education. The findings outlined in the aforementioned report kept me awake at night and were a real call to action. I invite delegates to follow our journey as we pledge to make every child a reader in a school with multiple layers of disadvantage. In 2019 80% of our children left our school able readers and we are currently striving to increase that figure. In Stockton reading not only changes lives but it ultimate saves lives.
I offer an insight into our journey. Doubling our reading data in two years was a mammoth task but we had no time to spare. Using both the National Literacy Trust report as a springboard with both staff and parents I have implemented changes to both policy and practice based on a wide range of educational research and cognitive science. I can offer a strategic view for schools who need to improve the teaching and learning of reading and practical changes that can be made easily in classrooms. My work has been based on Gough and Tunmer’s Simple View of Reading (1986), Perfetti’s work on comprehension and the many pieces of research outlined in Ending the Reading Wars: Acquisition From Novice to Expert by Castles, Rastle and Nation (2019). My presentation, although underpinned by research, is a very human and humble tale of a school who were getting it so wrong but have made a collective pledge to get it really right.