Middlesbrough-based Lexonik and the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT) are launching a national campaign to eradicate preventable illiteracy in schools, academies and educational establishments.
The campaign, Eradicating Illiteracy Through Teacher Development, was previewed to an audience of head teachers, senior leaders in education and literacy specialists, at Wynyard Hall.
The event included talks and practical exercises to demonstrate how a unique and specially designed training package, along with a commitment to eliminating preventable illiteracy, could benefit all children in the UK.
Keynote speeches were given by Ben Houchen, Tees Valley mayor, and businessman Sir John Hall.
Recent research by the Department for Education found that eight per cent of children aged 11 in the North East were below a level three reading age, meaning they only have a basic understanding of very simple texts.
Lexonik is an award-winning company celebrated for raising literacy levels and achievement by providing unique training which develops and enhances existing skills and knowledge of teachers internationally.
Founded by former teacher Katy Parkinson in 1999, it has been found to improve reading age by 27 months over a six-week programme.
The SSAT is a membership organisation of schools and academies across the UK and internationally, which works with leaders, teachers and students to drive improvement and innovation in education facilities and celebrate their successes and achievements.
Claire Preston, CEO of Lexonik, who was crowned the first ever Tees Businesswoman of the Year last October in an event organised by Tees Business, said: “Lexonik improves literacy levels rapidly and dramatically which has a huge impact on access to the curriculum, employability, and life itself.
“This event at Wynyard Hall was designed to raise awareness of the need for teacher development if we, as a whole country, are going to ever be able to eradicate preventable illiteracy.”
Tom Middlehurst, head of policy and public affairs as SSAT, said: “We want to make sure teachers are explicitly teaching vocabulary, regardless of their subject, so that even the most disadvantaged young people in their schools can make coherent links between subject areas for themselves, now and in the future. That will make a huge difference to them, and we know that we can do that through high quality teacher training.”
Speaking at the event, Ben Houchen said: “I have decided to support this campaign because of the huge optimism and opportunity across the Tees Valley area.
“Lexonik is an amazing local business that is exporting across the globe. It’s a great innitative. It’s a great business in its own right, and also a great enabling business to make sure that young people are well skilled to be able to do the jobs that are going to be created in the area, making sure everybody is better off.”