St Joseph Catholic Multi Academy Trust (SJCMAT), a group of seven academies across Merseyside, has pushed reading to the top of its agenda with transformative staff development supported by the Department for Education (DfE).
Instilling a love of reading at a young age lays a foundation for success at all levels. Reading for pleasure allows children to build their vocabulary, broaden their general knowledge and develop their cognitive abilities, allowing them to make greater progress across the curriculum. SJCMAT is working hard towards its strategic priority of supporting every child to learn to read and become a frequent reader for pleasure.
To this end, staff recently took part in ‘Reading for Pleasure: Transforming your school’s reading culture’, an evidence-based professional development course funded by the DfE, giving staff the tools to transform their schools’ reading culture and become advocates for reading for pleasure. Since completing the course, staff have implemented huge positive changes, including building new libraries, organising book swaps and embedding opportunities for reading for pleasure throughout the school day. Frank Cottrell-Boyce, children’s author, has also been involved in delivering the programme and has formed strong links with The Trinity Catholic Academy, a primary within the SJCMAT family. Cottrell-Boyce is helping to build a free-standing community library in the playground to encourage parents and pupils to read together.
Julian Tegg, course leader of the ‘Reading for Pleasure’ programme, said, “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with such a passionate and engaged group of colleagues. It was really inspiring hearing about how everyone has developed reading in their school. We’ve learned as much from them as they have from us.”
This is just the beginning of a culture shift across SJCMAT which will set children up for success in education and beyond.