Last week I attended Inside Government’s Raising Literacy and Numeracy Standards Conference. As conferences go it was pretty feeble but there were some gems.
The star of the show was Kelvin Hall’s Headteacher, Sarah Smythe. In 2013 Kelvin Hall was labeled RI and by 2015 was rated Outstanding. She shared her experience. The best bit? The clear, definite statement from Sarah that there were “no magic tricks.” In fact, the school simplified things and focused on the following areas:
- Marking and Feedback – consistent
- Data Analysis – clearly defined bands
- High profile reading – Everyone Reads In Class
- TA Tutors – Period 6 was tutor time
- EPIC ERIC – the award winning fictional Kelvin Hall student!
Epic Eric is genius. Eric is a fictional Kelvin Hall student who is sucked into a portal transporting him to other dangerous, ghostly, pre-historic lands.
Students then have to complete certain literacy tasks, ranging from SPAG to cross devices, to submit golden tickets that allow Epic Eric to step into the next world.
They often receive 100s of gold tickets, their highest being almost 1500. It’s a whole school initiative with teachers dressing up as Epic Eric for World Book Day. It’s particularly effective in Key Stage 3 and has particularly helped to engage pupils in reading and writing.
Simple, wacky, creative. Effective.
Wonder what Epic Eric looks like? He’s rather charming. Click here to see a past Epic Eric newsletter!
Incidentally, we worked with Kelvin Hall’s Year 11 students to help them prepare for exams in February 2015. That March they were rated Outstanding. A coincidence I’m sure…
Either way, it was enlightening learning from Sarah and Kelvin Hall’s journey. Thanks Sarah!