Bangor Academy Scoops National Training Award


National Training Award Presentation

Bangor Academy Scoops National Training Award - or our Reading Partnership ‘Oscar’ as we like to call it!

We’re celebrating official recognition from the Department of Employment and Learning as they announce the winners of the 2010 National Training Awards.

Mr Hyndman forwarded the following message to all staff in school this week. In it he revealed news of the success of our Reading Partnership Scheme in our own school and beyond, in our five partner primary schools. We thought we’d share the good news with you too:


The National Training Awards were announced and presented in the Europa Hotel on 12th October. The awards are organised and run by the Department of Employment and Learning and in early September we received our invitations with news of our nomination. 
I am delighted and very proud to inform everyone that we were presented with the Northern Ireland Training Award in the medium employment category (50 to 250 employees) and then the UK National Training Award in this same category. (Only one UK National Training Award is presented in each category) This is a tremendous achievement and I extend my congratulations to everyone involved especially the twenty-eight Sixth Form Students and to Mrs McGrillen, Mrs Stockman and Mrs Gillespie who helped create, support and monitor the Reading Partnership Scheme.
Whilst I appreciate very much those other colleagues involved in many aspects of the scheme, including writing the submission, I wish also to thank Miss Imelda McDaid from RTU who gave invaluable advice and guidance.
We now qualify for the National Finals which will be held in London in early December.
This is an excellent recognition for the school and, again, I thank and congratulate everyone involved.”
W Hyndman

Reading Partnership Scoops National Training Award

English Department staff and Sixth form students from Bangor Academy have helped to improve the reading ages of younger children as part of the Academy’s community-based initiative. The results of their work have meant that Bangor Academy has won a prestigious National Training Award at a ceremony in the Europa Hotel in October.

The reading intervention scheme formed part of the school’s bid to be awarded the Department of Education’s coveted Specialist School’s status. In 2008 the college was declared a Specialist School in the Humanities, in particular English, Drama and Journalism. As a result, the college was able to establish strong community links with five primary schools, three ‘post-primary’ schools and the YMCA.

The Principal of Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College, William Hyndman said, “As part of our Specialist School’s bid we planned to expand our already established in – house reading intervention strategy to raise literacy and reading standards. We wanted to support children’s reading and provide quality training for teachers, classroom assistants and sixth form pupils.”

Twenty-eight sixth formers from the college volunteered to help primary school children develop their reading skills. These sixth formers successfully completed eight hours of training, equipping them with the necessary skills to make a difference. They were taught how to identify reading difficulties, recognise good reading behaviour and keep records of a child’s progress.

Supervising their efforts were three teachers who were specially trained in reading intervention techniques. Classroom assistants also received specialist training. The cost of the full training Programme totalled £2,000. This was provided by DENI from the Specialist School’s funding grant.

Mr Hyndman continued, “The target set in the five local primary schools was to improve the reading ages of the Primary 7 pupils involved in the Programme to 10 years or above and for pupils in other year groups to be reading at the level expected of them. We also wanted to encourage reluctant readers to read with increased confidence and to improve their reading ages by up to one year.”

Fifteen sixth formers worked with five local primary schools and the remaining thirteen worked with ten pupils within the college.

Over the course of ten weeks, the sixth formers visited the schools for one hour, twice a week. As many as 200 pupils benefitted from the reading initiative.

After the Programme, the pupils’ reading abilities were reassessed. The results exceeded expectation, with some pupils recording improvements in their reading age of more than two years. What’s more, the Programme has helped some children so much that they are now off the Special Education Needs register.

Parents, teachers and the pupils themselves enjoyed the Programme. As a result of the phenomenal success, Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College is already training a new set of eager Sixth formers. Soon they too will be ready to make a difference.