School stages unique conference to boost literacy

School stages unique conference to boost literacy

29th January 2015


STUDENTS are to be inspired by the power of the pen and the wonders of the written word in a unique conference that aims to boost literacy.

Nationally renowned literary figures will spend the day with students from Longfield Academy of Sport, Darlington, in a move expected to lift their English literature grades to A* and A.
Almost 100 Year 11 students, due to sit their English literature GCSEs in May, will attend the Longfield Literature Conference at the town’s Blackwell Grange Hotel, on Friday February 6.
BBC Breakfast News business presenter Steph McGovern will be one of the keynote speakers talking about her experiences from a childhood in Middlesbrough to a career in national television.
Critically acclaimed award winning British poet Daljit Nagra will also address young delegates.
Year 11 pupils study his poetry as part of the Clashes and Collisions Anthology. In 2007, 2011 and 2013 he was awarded Poetry Book of the Year and attends workshops and literary festivals all over the country.
The day has been organised by assistant curriculum leader for English and literacy Louise Mower and faculty leader Louise Laver just as the school received its early entry English GCSE results revealing an 81 per cent pass rate, up from 75 per cent last year.
Mrs Mower said: “This is an amazing opportunity to meet the actual poet and deepen their appreciation of his work. Daljit will be giving a poetry reading, discussing his own poems and poetry in general and answering delegates’ questions. Steph is a great North-East role model showing what can be achieved through hard work.”
Teesside University senior lecturer in English Dr Rob Hawkes, who specialises in modernism, will discuss the importance of English literature in future careers and life skills.
Teesside University senior lecturer in English Dr Helen Davies, who specialises in Victorian literature, will give a lecture on the Victorian Gothic, widening delegates’ appreciation of the context and themes in Jekyll & Hyde, in preparation for their prose exam.
Mrs Mower said: “This is an incredible opportunity for young delegates to develop key skills and engender a love of English literature.
“The aim is to take them out of the classroom and away from the exam scheme to widen their experiences of literature.
“This should encourage them to make connections between the texts they are studying and their wider contexts; to question, investigate and explore, thereby deepening their thinking so they can achieve more in their examinations and take this into further study, beyond school.”
She said she had an amazing group of English students this year who, she felt, would get such a lot from the conference as they became ‘delegates’ for the day.
“Part of doing really well is believing that you can achieve and activities like this really promote self-belief,” she said. “This is a day they will remember and the knock on effect, I believe, will be more students achieving A*s and As.”

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