How do you like the sound of this? A Blackpool school has ranked in the top five per cent nationally for its English teaching.
St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary School has been praised for its “hard work” and “professionalism” in ensuring children achieve top grades in phonics.
This is the method of teaching reading and writing by developing children’s ability to hear, identify and manipulate sounds to learn the links between them and spelling patterns they form.
MP Nick Gibb wrote to the school, on Devonshire Road, Bispham, who said they had achieved a “tremendous success” by seeing at least 95 per cent making the expected grades in phonics.
Headteacher Michelle Holden said: “It was amazing to get the letter.
“I know how hard the staff and children have worked with phonics but to have that recognition is great.”
The school has employed a leading phonics teacher, Alexis Satterthwaite, who is also the school’s assistant headteacher, to enhance phonics learning.
Mrs Holden added: “She’s had a massive input. We’ve had a massive drive on it because early phonics skills are crucial to reading and to make children lifelong readers.
“If they’ve got that higher skill set in reading it helps across all areas of the curriculum.”
In the letter, Mr Gibb, the minister of state for school reform, said: “To be in the top five per cent of schools, with at least 95 per cent of pupils achieving the expected standard in the check, is a tremendous achievement.
“You have ensured every Year One child in your school has a firm foundation for reading.
“Thank you for your work in this vital area...and congratulations again to you and your staff for your hard work and professionalism.”
To help children further the school hosted a special phonics evening last term, inviting parents in to learn about the teaching method to encourage them to work on the skills with children at home.
The headteacher said: “To do that was above and beyond, it was a really fun evening and got parents on board to help them as well.”