As Sir Tim Berners-Lee noted, “The original idea of the web was that it should be a collaborative space where you can communicate through sharing information.” The internet is a place designed for humans to connect. Those who know me (Nicole Ponsford) know that collaboration and celebration are my jam. Over the last decade, I’ve been fortunate to be part of and create a range of online communities - from my new startup, The Gender Equality Charter (GEC), my new #Edtech50-winning WomenEdTechers (the digital side to WomenEd), to those first few curriculum-based blogs I did as an NQT. I have learnt a few things along the journey, but there is one thing that stands out.
In Estyn’s 2013 inspection report, there were 355 pupils at St Philip Evans R.C. Primary School. The school is in an English-speaking part of South Wales. About 40% of pupils learn English as an additional language, and speak other languages at home. About a quarter of pupils are entitled to receive free school meals. The school identifies 17% of pupils as having additional learning needs, nearly all of whom have moderate learning difficulties. No pupil has a statement of special educational needs.
In conjunction with Lamar University, we present the ITEGS Report (International Test of Early Grade Skills). With a sample size over 290,000, it's the largest study of foundational reading and numeracy skills in the 5-9 age bracket across multiple countries. ITEGS offers a unique comparative snapshot across countries (and states/regions) during the very critical foundational skill acquisition period. It helps identify educational jurisdictions that are having greatest success with their students.
We are in boom times for children’s and YA literature, it seems, and more and more publishers are publishing books that are engaging for struggling readers to get them more motivated to read. I’ve often found it easier to ‘rev up’ the reading of those that have low literacy levels than to excite the interest of the ‘can read, won’t read’ crowd. It seems amazing, and a little incomprehensible, to me that young people who are able to access the fantastic imaginations of fab authors don’t show any inclination to do so - do they not realise that they could be fighting with ninjas in Chris Bradford’s books or travelling through magical realms with Garth Nix’s Lirael?
In June this year, 7-11 year-olds from across the country will descend on the BFI IMAX to attend LitFilmFest – a cinematic celebration of pupils’ writing achievements through filmmaking. Dominic Traynor, the festival’s founder, talks to us about the purpose of the event and how schools can get involved:
A couple of weeks back, I went to the first meeting of a new book group. I’d been thinking for ages that I wanted to join one and then, while my little lad Arthur and I sat waiting for our Saturday morning haircuts in the barber’s, one just sort of presented itself to me in a poster stuck to the antique dresser they use as a reception desk. It was for men only, it was to be held in a pub and the first book was a cracker, ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, a shatteringly bleak post-apocalyptic vision I’d taught to some dream Year 9s about 4 years previously – how could I not go?
Pobble, recognised this week as the most promising education technology company in the UK by the organisation of British publishers, has announced that it will further expand its team of literacy teachers. As many as six educators joined Pobble this term. Here, one of them shares her experience.