A Teesside businesswoman who has been clocking up the air miles as her education firm takes its pioneering services to the USA and United Arab Emirates is set to catch a more unusual one-way flight – before leaping out.
Katy Parkinson is the founder director of award-winning Middlesbrough firm Sound Training, a unique teaching programme that rapidly improves literacy levels.
Raising reading ages by an average of 27 months in just six weeks, the ground-breaking programme is making a huge difference to student achievement and employment opportunities as well as their general life chances.
After a series of successes with primary and secondary schools across the UK, Sound Training is now generating significant international interest following recent breakthroughs in America, Dubai and Oman.
Since forming the company in Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone six years ago, Katy has become more accustomed to travel while promoting the use of the unique teaching programme she created.
Katy, who was previously employed as senior learning and language team coordinator for Middlesbrough Council, recalled: “We had a plan as to where we would work in the early stages of the business, but then soon realised we just had to go wherever the demand was, to generate data, credibility and survive.
“We’ve certainly ended up going further than I thought we would!”
Katy launched the business as she was determined to address the literacy needs of young people in the area that were not being met by existing provision.
Over a number of years, research and trials were carried out until the teaching programme – recently rebranded Lexonik – was born.
“It wasn’t long before entrepreneur Katy realised that she had a product which would work for mainstream students everywhere, especially those who were underachieving as a result of low literacy levels and limited vocabulary.
Along with the firm’s CEO Claire Preston, she set her sights on global opportunity, starting with the US. A number of pilot projects followed – substantial developments are currently underway in Texas, Florida and Maine, where she says feedback and results have been “incredible”.
Over the last year, Lexonik has also been introduced in schools in the UAE.
Claire said: “We’re really excited by the initial response to Lexonik in the Middle East and we’re optimistic about potential growth within the international schools sector worldwide.”
Katy added: “I am unbelievably thrilled by the way that things have developed.
“To see and hear the positivity with which Lexonik is received around the world is amazing. We just want as many people as possible to benefit from what we have – it really does make a difference.”
And the Lexonik effect isn’t constrained to school-aged students only. It is also used to develop literacy in a range of adult education settings including within the secure estate in a number of prisons in the UK.
Since last year, Lexonik has also been introduced to help offenders in Florida, witjh Claire and Katy confident this new outlet will continue to grow both in the USA and closer to home.
For now, Katy is resorting to jumping out of a plane, rather than travelling on one, with her planned tandem skydive schedule for ????
Raising funds in aid of Teesside Philanthropic Foundation, Katy will bravely take on a challenge that neither she nor her family ever thought she would do.
Proud and inspired by her “wonderful team” at Sound Training – who completed the New York Marathon in 2016 to raise funds for the same cause – Katy said: “I supported the team in their efforts, both in fundraising and throughout the training and event, but I wanted to do something personally for the people that are most in need in our area.”
If you would like to know more about Lexonik or sponsor Katy, please visit www.soundtraining.co.uk