Brighton primary school wins national reading award

A primary school in Brighton has won a national children’s literacy award.

St Joseph’s RC Primary School has been named one of the top Reading Recovery Schools of the Year by the University of London Institute for Education – the UK’s top educational body in this field.

Reading Recovery is a scheme that gives intensive 1-1 tuition to young children who are having difficulties learning to read to help them catch up with their peers.

St Joseph’s has been honoured for taking the scheme a step further and working with parents to help them get more involved in their children’s reading.

Led by their Reading Recovery specialist teacher Pippa Davies, St Joseph’s set up a two-week ‘Stay and Play’ scheme for their Key Stage 1 pupils. This involved parents coming into school with their children to pick up tips on how to go about reading with their children, and also to attend Phonics lessons with their children.

The success of this scheme led to it being extended to Year 3 pupils and parents as well. The school also set up a book exchange where parents could choose books or have them recommended to them, and got classes showing off their reading skills in assemblies.

Mariam Soryal, whose son Timon has been on the Reading Recovery scheme, said: “It has helped my child greatly and has really developed his understanding of the importance of reading. He is much more confident now and enjoys reading more than ever.”

Pippa Davies said: “Parents want to help their children with their reading, but some lack confidence and find it difficult.

“We’re thrilled about winning the Reading Recovery award, but really that’s just the icing on the cake.

“The main thing for us is the response we’ve had from parents on this, and the amazing impact this is having on their children’s progress.”

The chair of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor Tom Bewick, said: “Schemes such as Reading Recovery have a very important part to play in tackling inequality in our city, so I’m delighted that St Joseph’s has been honoured in this way.

“Investing in basic learning skills at a young age has a massive pay-off for children who are then able to catch up with their peers and get the maximum benefit from their education.”