Blackpool author Nathan Parker works with pupils from Revoe Learning Academy to help improve literacy

Over the last few months, a celebrated Blackpool author has been working with a local primary school in order to enhance engagement with literacy amongst students, and even the wider community.

By Aimee Seddon
Monday, 18th July 2022, 12:30 pm

Revoe Academy in Blackpool hired Nathan Parker, the author of three published books and a successful performance poet, to work with pupils from Year One through to Year Six for 16 weeks.

This has included working with the school’s specialised SEND class in the 'Learning Garden', holding creative writing workshops for pupils, afterschool workhops for parents, and working with students to create a series of fictional stories about typical Revoe children and their experiences.

Children who have worked with Nathan have acted as his advisors and have shared their experiences with him, with the school saying this published book “truly celebrates the diversity” they have at Revoe Learning Academy, “from children who have joined our school having lived in another country, to children who may have challenges with learning, to children who face a different type of challenge in life.”

Author Nathan Parker has been working with pupils from Revoe Learning Academy to help improve literacy. He is pictured centre, with pupils J'Kwon Grant, 10 (who conttibuted illustrations to the book), and Aadidev Nair, 10.

Nathan, an ex-Blackpool pupil himself, who has worked in Youth and Community work for over a decade, said: “Teaching at this school has been incredibly rewarding and heart-warming. Each day presents new children with new stories, hopes and dreams. Throughout this residency it has be an absolute privilege to play a part in harnessing that youthful energy to try an instil belief and excitement around stories, literacy and the future. Having a sustained role in the school has meant that I have been able to build relationships with pupils, staff and parents/carers - I've been welcomed in as part of the family. “

10-year-old J'Kwon, who contributed illustrations inside the book as well as designing the front cover and blurb, said: “I have really enjoyed the sessions with Nathan. I'm really looking forward to seeing all our hard work published in our new book.”

Another student, Angel added: “Working with Nathan made me more confident in my English lessons and now I think I am better at it then before he came.”

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Nathan Parker with English lead Thomas Chadwick and pupils J'Kwon Grant, 10, Aadidev Nair, 10 and Angel Millwood, 9.

On Friday (July 22), the school will be holding an assembly to celebrate the publishing of their co-created book and to thank Nathan for his work.

English Leader and Year 5 Teacher,Thomas Chadwick, said: “Nathan has become a popular figure in our school and someone who is recognised by all students. By working with every student in school (apart from nursery and reception students), we have seen a significant uplift in engagement during creative writing lessons. Furthermore, Nathan's background and work with school has provided inspiration to students who are now choosing to give up their play times to work with peers on their own creative writing for pleasure, which is absolutely fantastic to see. In terms of the wider community, Nathan has been running weekly after school workshops around literacy to engage the wider Revoe community, which has had a regular turnout of parents.”

Headteacher Dayle Harrison, who has authorised the publishing of 200 copies for students and the community added: “We have been so pleased with the extraordinary accomplishments we have achieved in our collaboration with Nathan. Due to its incredible success, we are already making plans for Nathan to work with us once again in the next academic year in a similar capacity.”

Nathan said: "I have a passion for supporting young people to feel empowered and confident, as well as challenging structural inequalities that put young people across my town and the north west at a disadvantage. Whilst navigating this world of literacy with my own novels and poetry, I found that the values of youth work could really compliment a slightly different approach to literacy - looking at inspiration, motivation and application, giving our young people a boost around literacy, as well as aspiration in general."