|By PR Newswire||
|September 5, 2013 07:48 AM EDT||
LONDON, September 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
A headteacher who transformed a failing East London school now believes that teaching handwriting will result in his pupils' success.
When John Halliwell arrived at Thomas Arnold primary in April 2012, he was acutely aware that "The school's results had been in decline for more than five years, attendance was poor, the buildings were neglected and engagement between parents and the school was extremely weak".
Almost half of the children attending Thomas Arnold Primary receive free school meals and 20 per cent have special educational needs. Most have English as a second language.
In early April 2013, Mr Halliwell contacted the creator of the Start-Bee Handwriting System, Melanie Harwood, and arranged to run a Pilot Scheme of the innovative handwriting method at Thomas Arnold School for three months.
Mr Halliwell and his Early Years Foundation Stage Phase Leader, Ruth Botterill, chose eleven children to take part in the Pilot Scheme. All of these children were considered to be "Failing", unable to write their own names and generally struggling with learning. Almost all of this "trial group" were Special Education Needs (SEN) students with varying degrees of learning difficulties ranging from Autism, Dyspraxia, Dyslexia and ADHD.
Within only three short months, all eleven children were writing their names and becoming confident emergent writers. The other startling results of the pilot scheme were the children's improved confidence, creativity and interest in all other lessons.
Now Mr Halliwell has arranged for the specialist programme, the Start-Bee Writing System, to be rolled out across all Pre-School, Reception and Year 1 classes, starting in the new school year this September 2013.
Never done before and potentially groundbreaking for all Thomas Arnold's students, a bold handwriting initiative which will be kickstarted in September 2013, when thirty trainee teachers will spend six weeks focussing almost solely on handwriting with these students everyday.
Mr Halliwell says, "My aim is for Thomas Arnold to become the choice school for the area. I want to see that our children continue to be happy and creative in their learning, whilst also developing skills above the national average. Now with Start-Bee Handwriting lessons being done each and every day in Thomas Arnold, we will prove that our children can achieve and that they will achieve in life".
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