Children at seven primary schools across Teesside are set to benefit from a new project after a £50,000 cash boost.
It follows a successful bid to SHINE, an education charity that works with schools and other organisations, to help disadvantaged children fulfil their true potential.
The schools, in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees, are all part of Ad Astra Academy Trust and the money will be used to improve speech and language skills of 3 and 4-year-olds.
Philippa Kermotschuk, Deputy Lead for School Improvement with Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of children entering our schools with below average speech and language skills.
“We want to ensure that all of our children get off to the best possible start at school and this funding will help us to focus on the children who need additional support to bring their speech and language skills to the required level.”
The SHINE grant of £52,080 will be spent over a two-year period. It will involve various initiatives including the appointment of speech and language champions at each school and programmes for parents to help them support and encourage their children.
Dr Helen Rafferty, Interim Chief Executive Officer of SHINE, said: “SHINE is delighted to be working with the Ad Astra Academy Trust on this important and inspiring project.
“We know that the early years of a child’s educational journey are critically important in giving them the best possible chances in life, and that speech and communication is one of the most vital skills our children can develop.
“We are looking forward to seeing many more children in the region find their voice and thrive throughout their school years.”
Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer for Ad Astra Academy Trust, commented: “We are delighted to receive financial support from SHINE and there’s no doubt it will help to raise standards and aspirations of our young children.”
It’s felt that the increased reliance on technology in recent years and a rise in poverty across our communities are the main contributory factors to young children lacking basic speech and language skills.
Leanne Todd, Headteacher of Rosebrook Primary School, added: “It is so important that children get off to a good start with their speech and acquisition of language as it enables them to succeed in all areas of the curriculum as well as to socialise and interact with others.
“The initiative will help our schools to identify issues at an early stage in a child’s development, meaning we can intervene sooner to enable all children to keep up or catch up.”
The seven primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, Brougham, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Ayresome in Middlesbrough and Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees.
Issued by Alastair Rae on behalf of Ad Astra Academy Trust. For further information, contact Alastair on 0758 1239557.