UKLA Literacy School of the Year 2022

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UKLA are delighted to announce the joint winners of the 2022 Literacy School of the Year Award: a school where literacy thrives.

Hallsville Primary School, Newham, London

And

Whitefield Primary School, Liverpool

Both schools presented their work at UKLA’s International Conference in Birmingham in July 2022. 

 Keri Edge, Executive Headteacher and Kelly Jones, Head of School, from Hallsville Primary, described the transformational work of providing new libraries and reading spaces for their children.  Hallsville is a school where staff and pupils share a passion for books.  Because of their professional development programme, the headteacher says that “literacy is at the heart of everything we do”.  Hallsville is a reflective school, where reading and research, alongside lesson study, informs policy and practice.  The school is generously outward facing; in their submission for the award, the school says:

“The school shares what it knows around the teaching of literacy.  Classroom doors are often open for professionals throughout the country to come and visit, to share and learn from our layered approach to teaching literacy.”

In her statement of support as mentor to Hallsville’s submission, Nikki Gamble says:

“There’s a deep understanding of what it means to be a reader and the skills that children must acquire to become independent readers and writers. Strong leadership ensures consistency across the school, but individuality is also celebrated.”

Headteacher Jill Wright and Reading strategy Leader, Claudia Cotton, from Whitefield Primary School in Liverpool, introduced the work of their school as based on strong leadership, a cohesive approach to teaching and learning, a highly skilled staff and a commitment to drive high aspiration.  

In their submission, they say:

“Our Library is not only physically at the heart of our building, but it’s also the beating heart of the school community. We continue to invest a significant sum of money and time into maintaining and utilising the facility in order to enrich the pupils’ and the wider community’s literary lives. It’s the pupils themselves who organise, run and lead activities/events in the library e.g. daily lunchtime reading club indoors (in the library) and outdoors in the school grounds, story time in the library, monitor what is loaned and what is proving to be popular. They manage ‘the book wishes’ system. There is a timetable where all classes are designated a session in the library. Here is where our staff and pupils successfully motivate each other to read and discuss what they’ve read. Y6 pupils have organised their own ‘reading group’ and meet weekly to initiate ‘book blether’. The Library is where we hold training sessions for parents, carers and the wider community, especially sessions that enrich literacy and communication skills.”

The school has patrons of reading and writing and serves as a focus of literacy events, such as visiting authors, across the local authority.  Quality texts underpin the curriculum and Reading for Pleasure, is reinforced with all staff trained as teachers who read.

In her statement of support for Whitefield’s submission, Professor Teresa Cremin said:

“I believe that Whitefield Primary School would be an excellent choice for UKLA Literacy School of the Year as they place literacy at the heart of the curriculum and are passionate and aspirational for their pupils. They have high expectations and offer high support as they fully aware that education and reading for pleasure is a social justice issue and one of particular salience to their children. Many of their families are challenged by poverty (the school is in the bottom 1% of Wards in the country). Nonetheless standards are high, in large part due to the phenomenal enthusiasm, commitment and skill of the wide staff team who seek to engage, entice and enable all children to reach their potential. Teachers see themselves as readers and seek to develop the reading identities of the young, in addition the curriculum is based around high quality texts.”

It was a joy to listen to the enthusiasm and energy from both schools at our International Conference; we look forward to their future contribution to the wider UKLA community.

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