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Pupils from Cedar Primary in Strood get help from Gillingham FC and Medway Messenger for school project

Six pupils from a Medway primary school have been taking part in a project to show that writing isn’t just for girls.

The group of Year 6 boys from Cedar Primary in Strood were taken to watch the Gills play at Priestfield in the first of several exercises to encourage them to write.

The gap between boys and girls attaining the national standard in writing, at the end of Key Stage 2 in 2015, is 8%. In Medway it is 11% and at Cedar Primary the gap was almost 30%.

The Byline Boys with their mentors
The Byline Boys with their mentors

Goalscorer Cody McDonald and goalkeeper Stuart Nelson, along with Medway Messenger sports reporter Luke Cawdell, attended the school the following week to help them compile their reports after the Gills lost an exciting game against Shrewsbury.

The project was led by teacher Hannah Wright, who selected six pupils who she felt would benefit most from the project. Kian Alderson, Leon Mellican, Mason Palmer, Oliver Dunning, Josh Nash and Peter Robert are those involved.

Nicknaming themselves the Byline Boys, the group has a twitter account and the lads are running a blog throughout the project, which has been funded by Teach First – a charity which aims to address educational disadvantage in England and Wales.

Stuart Nelson with Mason and Josh, both 11
Stuart Nelson with Mason and Josh, both 11

Mrs Wright said: “Byline Boys aims to tackle some of the root causes to this significant gap by encouraging boys in writing and getting them to see it as part of their identity rather than as a ‘girls’ subject’ which is what many of the said when asked why they didn’t enjoy it or felt they weren’t good at it.”

Following the first task, she added: “The project is having a really positive effect on the children involved.

“I have noticed a big change in their attitudes towards their writing. My hope is that it will have a longer term effect on attitudes, taking this with them into secondary school and beyond.”

The pilot project will run over 10 weeks and up next for the boys is a cinema trip and visits from an author and a poet.

The boys’ blog, along with their reports, can be found at bylineboys.blogspot.co.uk

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