Awards honour literacy heroes

Winners of the Kent Literacy Awards 2018 at Hempstead House Hotel & Spa in Bapchild, Sittingbourne.

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Schools’ trailblazing work promoting literacy to pupils was celebrated at an awards ceremony staged by the KM Charity Team.

Educational providers from across the county were joined at the Kent Literacy Awards by special guests Terry Waite CBE and Kent County Council cabinet member for education Roger Gough.

Hosted by KM Charity Team chief executive Simon Dolby and kmfm news editor Nicola Everett, the event took place at Hempstead House hotel and spa near Sittingbourne.

Altogether 23 district awards were presented for schools’ innovative work developing children’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

Just eight of the initiatives were crowned the county’s best and these schools received trophies and certificates to display, along with bonus prizes including books, vouchers, a Kindle, an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet – and even a trained reading helper from Beanstalk – donated by organisations supporting the event.

From left, Malou Bengtsson–Wheeler of Beanstalk, Elaine Billingham, Freya Foster and Vanessa Homewood of Valley Invicta Primary School at Aylesford (Overall winner of Best Cross-curricular Initiative) and Sir Terry Waite CBE at the Kent Literacy Awards 2018.

Supporters included Kent County Council, Medway Council, KM Facilities Management Group, Reed Education, Specsavers, Tribeca Technology Group, Golding Homes, Whitefriars, McCabe Ford Williams, Orbit, DDS Environmental, Beanstalk, and the London Borough of Bexley.

Penny Bill, literacy consultant at Kent County Council, praised the event, saying it “provides a wonderful opportunity for our teachers to show what they can do; it promotes and develops the language of our children, helps them to read – to enjoy reading – and of course to express themselves in writing.”

One of the evening’s big winners was Valley Invicta Primary School at Aylesford, who received the county award for Best Cross-Curricular Initiative.

The judges were impressed by the way the scheme is linked to the curriculum – all school trips, reading, artwork, displays, assemblies, and plays are carefully considered to enrich children’s knowledge of topics.

Download the 2018 Literacy Awards Programme with a full listing of the 2018 winners

As a result pupils gain a deeper understanding of each topic and a rich vocabulary to draw upon when writing about subjects as diverse as dinosaurs, Africa, Victorian scientists, and the Second World War.

Elaine Billingham, literacy leader at the school, said: “Our cross-curricular writing has been embraced by all the staff and all the pupils. We’ve empowered the children, they have the language and the capability and the confidence to write and become lifelong writers.”

Details of the award-winning schemes have been incorporated into a best practice document and sent to all 600 schools in Kent and Medway. To download a free digital copy, visit www.KentLiteracyAwards.co.uk

Mr Dolby of the KM Charity Team said: “The quality of all the projects was truly outstanding, and the schools deserve a lot of credit for their imagination, enthusiasm and dedication.

“But it’s not just the winners who impressed. There were so many brilliant entries, making the task of choosing the winners extremely difficult.”

Organisations interested in getting involved in the Kent Literacy Awards should contact Mr Dolby at sdolby@thekmcharityteam.co.uk or on 0844 264 0291.

Kent Literacy Awards 2018 Winners

Overall Champions:

Best use of history to develop speaking and listening skills: Gravel Hill Primary in Bexley

Best use of drama to develop speaking and listening skills: St John’s C of E Primary in Canterbury

Best topic to develop writing skills: Wilmington Academy in Dartford

Best school library: Kingfisher Primary School in Medway

Best initiative to encourage reading for pleasure: Briary Primary in Herne Bay

Best initiative to develop speaking and listening skills: The Malling School

Best whole-school initiative to develop writing: Rose Street Primary School in Sheerness

Best cross-curricular initiative: Valley Invicta Primary School in Aylesford.

District Winners:

ASHFORD: Best use of poetry to develop cross-curricular writing – Victoria Road Primary School.

BEXLEY: Best use of history to develop reading, writing, speaking and listening skills – Gravel Hill Primary School; Best promotion of reading for pleasure – Willow Bank Primary School.

CANTERBURY: Best initiative to encourage reading for pleasure – Briary Primary School; Best use of drama to develop speaking and listening skills – St John’s CEP School; Best initiative to support EAL families – St John’s CEP School.

DARTFORD & GRAVESHAM: Best school library – Fleetdown Primary School; Best scheme to excite reluctant readers – Westgate Primary School; Best initiative to develop reading, writing, speaking and listening skills – Riverview Infant School; Best current affairs topic to develop writing – Wilmington Academy; Best book week theme – Wilmington Academy.

MAIDSTONE: Best scheme to excite reluctant readers – New Line Learning Academy; Best cross-curricular writing initiative – Valley Invicta Primary School at Aylesford.

MEDWAY: Best initiative to support EAL families – Brompton Westbrook Primary School; Best initiatives to support reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in students with special needs – Bradfields Academy; Best scheme to excite reluctant readers – The Rowans, Pupil Referral Unit; Best school library – Kingfisher Primary School.

SWALE: Best promotion of reading for pleasure – Lansdowne Primary School; Best initiative to develop writing – Rose Street Primary School.

TONBRIDGE & MALLING: Best initiative to develop speaking and listening skills – The Malling School; Best use of drama to develop speaking and listening skills – Kings Hill Primary School; Best scheme to excite reluctant readers – The Hayesbrook School.

SPECIAL AWARD: Most engaging writing competition – The Rotary Club.

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