Burnley teachers in pioneering project to help pupils from poorer families

EXCITED: Rachael Le Motte, second in command for Maths at Unity College (s)
EXCITED: Rachael Le Motte, second in command for Maths at Unity College (s)
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DEDICATED Burnley teachers are embarking on a two-year impact programme to tackle educational disadvantage.

Statistics have shown young people receiving free school meals across Burnley and Blackburn are 50% less likely to achieve five A*-C grades at GCSE, than those from higher income families.

DEDICATED: Teaching Leaders North 2012 cohort of 90 middle leaders (s)

DEDICATED: Teaching Leaders North 2012 cohort of 90 middle leaders (s)

This is believed to affect them later in life, with 28% of young people with no qualifications spending more than 12 months Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET).

Now 90 northern high flyers from 65 secondary schools have joined the Teaching Leaders’ mission to clamp down on the issue. Ten of the middle leaders are from Burnley and Blackburn.

Those on the programme have measurably improved student results in schools, delivering an average increase of 15% in the number of students gaining good GCSEs.

Rachael Le Motte, second in command for maths at Unity College, Burnley, is one of these teachers. She made an impact on her school’s results by delivering an independent learning activities project, which focused on ensuring more students were completing their homework.

This was done by providing weekly homework booklets for different subjects, which involved students and parents.

Rachael said: “The project increased homework participation from 20% to 70% for the maths department. The maths team really pulled together to create these booklets and, as a result of our success, I’ve been asked to coach other departments to roll it out across the school. I’m hoping the Teaching Leaders’ programme will help me increase results by breaking down the barriers students face and channelling their skills so they can achieve their best.

“It has been extremely exciting for me to meet so many other middle leaders with the same interests, ambitions and drive to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to exchange ideas and best practice to impact on the young people in my school and across Burnley.”

In four years, Teaching Leaders has had 273 participants and alumni helping over 17,000 students.

James Toop, chief executive at Teaching Leaders, said: “More than one in five children in the UK live in severe poverty.

“For them the link between education and life chances is profound. That’s why tackling educational disadvantage is important.

“Middle leaders are the powerhouse of any school, so giving them the skills to inspire their teams and students to aim higher is key to unlocking potential and breaking the cycle for future generations.”