Cancelled literacy and numeracy programme had ‘positive impact’

Cancelled literacy and numeracy programme had ‘positive impact’

- in Education
  • School pupils take an exam
  • A cancelled government education scheme helped thousands of pupils improve their English and maths results.
  • The literacy and numeracy signature programme ran from 2013 to 2015 but was not renewed due to a lack of money.
  • It helped almost 19,000 pupils, provided jobs for 310 new teachers and gave extra staff to hundreds of schools.
  • The final report on the second year of the programme has just been published by the Department of Education (DE).
  • Funding
  • It received £13.8m funding from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) and an additional £1.9m from DE.
  • The scheme was targeted at pupils in both primary schools and post-primary schools who were struggling to reach basic standards in English and maths.
  • Only newly-qualified teachers could apply for the jobs, which were for a two-year period.
  • The final report reveals that of pupils helped by the scheme:
  • 76% of primary school pupils reached level four or above in English, the expected skill level at the end of primary school;
  • 80% of primary school pupils reached level four or above in maths;
  • 65% of post-primary pupils got a GCSE grade C or above in English;
  • 60% of post-primary pupils got a GCSE grade C or above in maths.
  • Implications
  • A majority of pupils supported by the programme also improved their attendance at school.
  • Almost nine out of 10 primary schools that took part said the signature programme was successful.
  • Eight out of 10 post-primary schools also reported that it had benefited pupils.
  • Chris Donnelly, the principal of Holy Cross Boys’ Primary School in Belfast, said the programme had a proven impact on his pupils, with teachers working with them in small, tutorial-style groups.
  • “One of the keys to the success of [the scheme was that] it wasn’t necessarily targeting the children who would be deemed the low attainers, like so many of the initiatives in schools do,” Mr Donnelly said.
  • Aims
  • “It was targeting children who were underachieving – that’s a distinct cohort of children, and we were able to see the success.
  • “Schools are going to now feel the pinch, and unfortunately initiatives like this and their legacies that are going to suffer.”
  • The final report said the signature programme had “far-reaching implications”.
  • “Not only were the original aims achieved but the programme produced a number of outcomes and made a positive impact in our schools,” it said.
  • It was revealed that the signature project was ending in June 2015, although some school principals had called for it to be extended.
  • [Source:- BBC]