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Kent Literacy Awards hosted by the KM Charity Team at Hempstead House Hotel, Sittingbourne reveals top school schemes

By Liz Nicholls

School schemes from pupil parliaments and trivia challenges to movie magic and much-loved libraries have been rewarded at the Kent Literacy Awards.

Winners and sponsors of the Kent Literacy Awards 2017 are joined by Phil Gallagher, star of CBeebies' Mister Maker television programme, at Hempstead House Hotel, Sittingbourne.

Winners and sponsors of the Kent Literacy Awards 2017 are joined by Phil Gallagher, star of CBeebies' Mister Maker television programme, at Hempstead House Hotel, Sittingbourne.

The third annual awards event celebrated the most innovative, exciting, and successful methods being used by schools to help pupils hone vital communication skills.

Winners from across the county were invited to an awards presentation staged by the KM Charity Team at Hempstead House Hotel, Sittingbourne. The event was hosted by Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, and Nicola Everett, news editor for kmfm, and featured special guest Phil Gallagher of CBeebies’ Mister Maker fame.

Mr Dolby said: “The Kent Literacy Awards showcases the very best school initiatives used in the county to promote and develop children’s reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. We’ve had a record turnout of entries this year and are delighted to reward the cream of the crop.”

Winners collected trophies and framed certificates to display in their schools along with a range of additional prizes donated by supporters of the event.

Top schemes included the debating scheme ‘Canterbury Youth Parliament’ by Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in conjunction with Canterbury Christ Church University, which took the top prize for Best Student Voice Initiative;  and the Best Use of Technology Award went to Claremont Primary School, Tunbridge Wells for using film making to generate real excitement in pupils’ written work. The ‘Great Big Book Quiz’ by Burnt Oak Primary School, Gillingham, scooped the Best Literacy Innovation Award; and St John’s CEP School, Canterbury beat off stiff competition to take the Best School Library trophy.

Penelope Bill of the Literacy Improvement Team at Kent County Council (KCC) said: “What I really like about the Literacy Awards is the opportunity it gives us, our schools and our teachers, to showcase the best of what they can do - to show us their initiatives and their creativity in ideas for the teaching of reading and writing.”

The awards also revealed the Top Child Book Reviewer of the Year 2017 was 11 year-old Ruby Tipple from Cliftonville Primary School. She won the chance to meet Phil Gallagher and received a £25 book token donated by Cornwallis Charity and a signed copy of The Whisperer by award-winning children’s author Nick Butterworth.

Ruby said: “I wrote about my five favourite books, which are The Hunger Games trilogy, The Maze Runner trilogy, Harry Potter, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and The Kill Order. It was really really exciting meeting Mister Maker and I even got his autograph.”

CBeebies' Phil Gallagher and Patrick Thomas of Cornwallis Charity present Best Child Book Reviewer of the Year Ruby Tipple of Cliftonville Primary School with her prizes.

CBeebies' Phil Gallagher and Patrick Thomas of Cornwallis Charity present Best Child Book Reviewer of the Year Ruby Tipple of Cliftonville Primary School with her prizes.

A partnership of organisations was behind the Kent Literacy Awards including KCC, Medway Council, Bexley Council, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, kmfm, Orbit South, Crown Charitable Fund, AC Goatham and Son, Whitefriars, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Specsavers, Beanstalk, McCabe Ford Williams, KM Facilities Management Group, Cornwallis Charity, and Kent Libraries.

Nominations were submitted by members of school staff, pupils, and parents or guardians. The 18 categories included Best use of IT or Drama to Enhance Reading; Best Use of Art or Poetry; Most Engaging Writing Topic, Best Initiative to Encourage Speaking and Listening; and Most Engaging Book Week Theme.

A best practice booklet outlining all the successful schemes has been shared with schools in Kent, Medway and Bexley. To download a copy, visit www.kentliteracyawards.co.uk

Organisers of the event the KM Charity Team also provide services for schools including the Buster’s Book Club home reading scheme and walk to school programmes such as Active Wow.

Awards host Mr Dolby of the KM Charity Team said: “We are passionate about pupil literacy so we are currently offering schools a free trial of Buster’s Book Club. The home reading scheme will be available for one class per school free of charge because we are so sure that pupils will absolutely love it.”

To request a free one-class trial of Buster’s Book Club contact Charli Elvy at celvy@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 0844 264 0291.

Organisations interested in getting involved with next year’s Kent Literacy Awards should contact Simon Dolby at sdolby@thekmgroup.co.uk or by calling 07989 164 752.

 

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