The University of Brighton Academies Trust has secured funding for a project to improve language and literacy outcomes for disadvantaged children in the Early Years Foundation stage in Hastings schools.
The £298,650 project, funded by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, will benefit pupils at 15 primary schools in the town.
Over the past three years the percentage of children in these schools achieving Early Learning Goals (ELG) for reading has been lower than the national average. Research shows the gap widens over time and is more pronounced for disadvantaged pupils.
The project aims to improve children’s language skills in nursery, reception and Year 1 so that they will be better prepared for successful future learning.
It will focus on children aged between three and five to narrow gaps in language between disadvantaged children and others; increase the proportion of disadvantaged children reaching ELG; and reduce the differences in ELG reading between disadvantaged children and others.
Early Years Foundation Stage teachers, teaching assistants and pupil’s parents will play a part in the project.
Teachers will develop their understanding of how to support the development of children’s language and gain new skills and knowledge to improve their daily practice.
Teaching assistants will receive training, supervision and specialist support to assess children’s levels of language and literacy, set targets, carry out interventions and track progress. They will complete a recognised Level 4 course in speech and language communication and be able to work towards accreditation as specialist Speech and Language Therapy assistants.
Helen Howard, director of school improvement, University of Brighton Academies Trust, said: “I am delighted that we have secured this funding. I believe it will have wide-reaching and long-term impact for the children of Hastings. It is crucial that children in nursery, reception and year 1 have excellent support as they start their education because we know that this directly affects their future success.”
Schools to receive support are Ark Castledown Primary Academy, Churchwood Primary Academy, Hollington Primary Academy, Ore Village Primary Academy, Robsack Wood Primary Academy, Sandown Primary School, Silverdale Primary Academy, The Baird Primary Academy, West St Leonards Primary Academy, St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School; St Paul’s Church of England Academy, Dudley Infant Academy, Torfield School, St Leonard’s Church of England Primary School, and Christ Church C of E Primary and Nursery Academy.