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We, at Shoeburyness High School, launched Leading Ladies as a way of addressing the needs of a number of Year 8 girls who seemed to be increasingly focused on the issues that affected only their own narrow world, rather than being able to take a more generous, altruistic view of life.
Working with the local Baptist church’s ‘Life in Abundance’ team, we paired twenty of our girls up with twenty mature ladies from the local community, these ladies ranging from about sixty to an astoundingly spritely ninety years of age. The two groups were brought together for an hour a week, for eight weeks, to talk about their lives and share their experiences of growing up in remarkably differing eras. Each week was given over to discussing different topics, including food, fashion and education, with the ladies being especially imaginative in producing examples of cuisine and clothing from their younger years which the girls could try for themselves.
In the course of their discussions, firm friendships and wonderful relationships developed between the two sets of people, with each learning from - and about - the other. The project culminated in a Jubilee celebration and tea party which the girls prepared and then served to the ladies as a sign of their gratitude for all the help given by them.
As we had hoped, the girls all agreed that they had learnt much about a different group of people, beyond their normal scope of experience, and that the project had made them think more about the needs of others, not just themselves.
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Maths F.T.I. Form Time Intervention) 2012
Two years ago, the Maths Department set up a programme of form time intervention where as part of their service to school, Year 12 students were invited to become maths mentors to students in lower years.
The aim was to help build subject confidence and reach target grades, which also helped Year 12’s to reaffirm their numeracy basics. Great care was taken to place younger students with the most suitable mentors.
Based on the success of the initial year, in September 2011, pupils in Years 11, 10 and 9 were invited to become mentors, working on a one-to-one basis with other students.
We currently have a team of 45 mentors, some of whom work with up to three younger pupils a week, thus creating a network of 75 students who are receiving peer support in maths.
R.E.A.C.T. (Reading Enjoyment And Comprehension Tutition)
Students who struggle with their reading and comprehension cannot easily access the curriculum and this greatly reduces their chances of success both in their examination results and later in the workplace.
Results clearly show that R.E.A.C.T. works; over 93% of students improve their grades.
R.E.A.C.T. is an intervention scheme for our less confident readers intended for learners at Key Stage 3 and 4: the aim is to increase reading levels and comprehension of written texts.
Levels are monitored and targets set on an individual basis. Individual coaching sessions are held with R.E.A.C.T coaches who include Year 10 students who work with Year 7, Post 16 students, teachers during form periods and outside volunteers from the community who give their time to work with designated children. We are very fortunate to be able to draw on such a diverse range of coaches who really make a difference to the outcomes for our learners. Progress is continually monitored and it is not unusual to increase a child’s reading age by up to two years in a relatively short period.
Materials at our disposal include books, plays, e-books, Kindles, literacy games and software, as well as held computers (PDAs).
Progress is continually assessed and students regularly surprise us with their progress and enthusiasm for the programme. This is demonstrated by their attainment.
As an example, here are some subject terminology words we give to students. We ask them to read and explain the different meanings each one may have:
transcendental, contaminated, astute, molecules, commodity, denominator, extraneous etc.
The department is run by:
Mrs B Judd - Literacy Intervention Manager 01702-292286 ext 118
Mrs G Thornton – Learning Support Assistant
VoiceMale is a Shoeburyness High School intervention project that is now entering its seventh year. We gather together around 90 of our year 11 boys who are under-achieving or might be in danger of becoming disengaged from their education and form them into a male-voice singing group. To call us a choir would be stretching it somewhat; we like to think that what we may lack in finesse and musicality we more than make up for in passion and commitment.
Usually starting in September, the selected lads practise at least twice a week for twenty minutes, in preparation for performances at a number of venues, including other year groups’ end-of-term assemblies, ours and other schools’ Christmas celebrations and local shopping centres. Recently we have extended our repertoire by teaming up with a local primary school that has followed suit and formed its own boys’ singing group. The end results have been excellent and hugely rewarding for both sets of students.
The intention behind the scheme is to raise our students’ self-esteem by getting them to work hard in an area that is largely alien to them (in this case choral singing) to produce an impressive end result. When they give their debut performances, wearing their special ‘VoiceMale’ polo shirts, the boys’ sense of achievement and pride in themselves is astonishing to see, especially when they hear the applause of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience for the first time.