More Bristol schools are closing the gap in reading

Seven more Bristol schools have achieved the Bristol Every Child a Reader (EcaR) standard, bringing the total number of schools to 37.

The latest schools to achieve the EcaR standard are St Bonaventure’s Catholic Primary School, Ilminster Avenue E-ACT Academy Primary School, Greenfield E-ACT Academy Primary School, Fishponds Church of England Academy Primary School, Begbrook Primary Academy, St Anne’s Infants School and Wallscourt Farm Academy.

Representatives from each school were presented with an ECaR plaque by Councillor Jeff Lovell, Lord Mayor of Bristol, at the Mansion House earlier today (Wednesday 16 November).

The ECaR programme identifies children struggling to get to grips with reading and offers intensive one-to-one support with a specialist reading recovery teacher to help them get back on track.

Books are carefully ‘banded’ to ensure children are reading at exactly the right level to help them improve.

Some schools also have reading partners who are trained to understand the skills children need to be good readers, so they can analyse where problems may be and ensure children are supported to overcome them and improve their reading skills.

Reading Recovery has a significant impact on standards because, in addition to providing one-to-one intervention, it also supports teachers in raising standards in literacy for all pupils.

Councillor Claire Hiscott, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said:

“It is our aim to ensure every child in Bristol has the best possible start in life.

“As England’s first UNESCO Learning City, Bristol is championing the benefits of lifelong learning and it goes without say that reading is the foundation for future success, not only in education but beyond it too.

“The ECaR programme has a proven track record in Bristol of ensuring children achieve the levels of literacy expected for their age. Well done to the seven new schools which have achieved the ECaR standard.”

Around 2,500 children in Bristol primary schools benefited from the scheme last year. Of these children, more than eight out of 10 were successfully helped to achieve the reading level appropriate for their age, after taking part in the scheme.

Forty-five per cent of the children who received Reading Recovery in Bristol were from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, compared to 29% of children at Bristol primary schools overall.

The programme also resulted in 32% of children being removed from the Special Education Needs register following support and progress through the Reading Recovery programme.

Tracking of children who received Reading Recovery at the start of primary school six years ago, because their reading was below expected levels for their age, shows they continued to maintain the gains made during the programme at the end of KS2 (age 11).

Councillor Lovell said:

“I’m delighted to play a part in recognising these schools achievements to make sure our children get off to the best start in life.

“A hearty congratulations to everyone involved in achieving this latest set of ECaR standards.”