Benchill, Manchester

Improvements in Reading Age over 4 Year Period at Benchill Primary

Gill Hodgkinson (January 2019)

The Challenges faced by the School

Children at Benchill are of predominantly white non- working class background, with levels of deprivation in the top percentile.  Development of language and reading skills is a major challenge.  A research project carried out by Speech and Language where all children in nursery were screened revealed 0.2% of children operating at the ‘expected’ range for their age, and over 50% significantly below – i.e. enough to warrant clinical intervention.

Benchill Primary implemented SFA in September 2016 with the aim of improving reading and writing levels. The programme has been very successful in increasing progress and attainment.  

The challenging context of Benchill Primary has historically resulted in a significant number of children failing to learn to read. This case study examines the impact of SFA on the number of non-readers in the school, classified as being P7 or below.

The Impact of SfA

On implementation of SFA, in September 2015, Benchill Primary had end of year reading results as set out in Fig 1.  The increase in the numbers of children working at expected standard, as measured by NFER Pira tests, and at around reading age improvements can be seen.   The results indicate that SfA has had a significant impact, not only on reading, but also across the curriculum.

“I noticed very quickly the impact on the children’s vocabulary, this had had a positive knock-on effect on the children’s understanding of other subjects, and their ability to use a broader range of vocabulary in their writing. .” Sue Ogden, Senior teacher and Writing Lead.

Focusing on developing reading skills in Reception significantly reduced the number of non-readers at the start of Year 1. By September 2017 there are no non-readers in Years 2 and 3. This is due to the structured approach, where children work at the appropriate level for them, and use Co-operative Learning strategies.FF

Fig 1. The improvement in reading age when SFA was implemented, and 4 years later

(Results based on end of year PIRA reading assessment)

Fig 2. The improvement in reading age

4th April 2019

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