Hartlepool pupils shine following support from national education charity

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A two-year pilot project involving four Hartlepool primary schools has improved the speech, language and communication skills of nursery pupils aged three and four.

The Ad Astra Academy Trust, which oversees four primary schools in Hartlepool, is celebrating the successes of a partnership that helped pupils improve their language and communication skills.

The education charity SHINE works with schools and other organisations across the UK to help children reach their full potential, and has been successful amongst pupils in the town.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Barnard Grove Primary School, West Park Primary School and West View Primary School all took part in the £52,000 initiative which launched in 2021 and which is set to continue in 2024.

Pupils at West View Primary School, part of the Ad Astra Academy Trust.Pupils at West View Primary School, part of the Ad Astra Academy Trust.
Pupils at West View Primary School, part of the Ad Astra Academy Trust.

Pete Wiley, Ad Astra Academy Trust’s school improvement lead, said: “Among our schools, we observed that two-thirds of pupils enter reception with below-typical language and communication skills.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated this problem, leading to a surge in referrals to speech and language services, which are already overwhelmed.

"The project has been a real success story.

"Staff knowledge and understanding of how to support communication and language has grown, pupils are generally making better progress and parental involvement has improved.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since the project began, schools across the Trust have witnessed significant improvements in how well children communicate.

Fifty-one per cent of pupils at West View Primary School, in Davison Drive, for example, are classed as “ready for reception” in 2023 when it comes to listening and attention.

This is an improvement of 10 percent since 2022.

In terms of speaking, 46.6% are classes as “ready for reception”, which is an improvement of eight percent since last year.

Laura Wears, SHINE champion at West View Primary School, said: “There’s certainly a case to run this project indefinitely.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Language-rich environments, with highly skilled staff, are the key to developing young people’s speech, language, and communication skills.

"These skills are fundamental building blocks within a child’s development, and it is imperative to embed this early in a child’s education.”

Leaders at Brougham Primary School, in Brougham Terrace, have introduced several initiatives to the school including training for early years staff and developing expertise in delivering high-quality interactions unique to each child.

Staff have also created a communication-friendly environment that promotes conversation and interaction, including parent and children workshops.