Sunderland teacher joins worldwide project to help boys learn to read

Andrew Bennett, assistant head at Biddick School Sports College, Washington, will be taking part in a British Council International Literacy Project on boy's literacy.
Andrew Bennett, assistant head at Biddick School Sports College, Washington, will be taking part in a British Council International Literacy Project on boy's literacy.
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AN INTERNATIONAL project to boost reading among boys around the world has been joined by a Sunderland teacher.

Andrew Bennett, assistant headteacher at Biddick School Sports College, was selected to work with the British Council and the National Literacy Trust on the international scheme to identify how to improve the standard of boys’ literacy.

Andrew is one of just three people chosen to represent the UK and will take part in a study visit with people from 10 other countries, including Burma, Poland, Sudan, Pakistan and Bosnia.

The visit will look at projects across Britain and compare strategies used by us and other international educationalist to improve boys’ literacy.

In June 2012 the National Literacy Trust revealed that 76 per cent of UK schools are concerned about boys’ underachievement in reading, but there is no Government strategy in place to address the issue.

Andrew said: “I’m really proud and honoured that I am going to get the chance to learn from, and contribute to, this programme and, more importantly, put it into practice.

“I want to share the findings with all schools in our community and will be inviting teachers to a presentation of our discussions. Following this, I will be arranging a meeting for interested members of the public to come and share the findings.

“We need to work as a community to raise the standards of literacy across our region, and this research will be a great starting point to build on.”

Andrew said that the project members were already looking at how sport could be used to involve boys more in reading and writing, including working with the Youth Sports Trust and also ideas around computer games, the social media and peer motivation.

He said: “I am always willing to listen to ideas, and I think that’s what is so good about this opportunity.

“I get to listen to so many amazingly talented and committed individuals and, not only that, help shape the ideas and make them a reality for our community.”

The project – “Globally connected, locally engaged” – is part of the British Council’s Active Citizen programme.

Andrew says it will be an opportunity to give an international perspective to a real local issue.

The project will run until March 2013. Anyone who would like to put their opinions and ideas to Andrew about how to get boys more into reading can email them to him at andrewbennett@workmail.com.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho