Taking the next step
The Shine Porirua Literacy Project is officially underway. This project grew out of a three-year pilot study carried out at Titahi Bay School between 2010 and 2012. A small number of key changes were made to the teaching of literacy in the junior school which led to significant improvements in literacy achievement over this three-year period.
As a result of this, the researchers at the Institute of Education at Massey University designed a larger, more robust research study to evaluate the effects of a similar approach in a wider range of schools. The research team (led by Professor James Chapman) and Joy Allcock (who developed the approach used at Titahi bay School) discussed the project at a meeting that was open to all primary schools in Porirua. As a result, 19 schools opted to take part in the project. A similar number of schools outside Porirua have also been invited to take part in the project to provide a balance between schools trialling the approach in 2014, and schools acting as comparison schools during this period.
The project was first conceptualised in early 2013 and approval was granted from the Massey University Ethics committee in March 2013. Funding to start the project has been sought since February 2013. Board members from the Porirua Foundation voted to support this project, and they have been working hard to source funding. Grants have now been received from the Porirua Foundation itself, and from the Infinity Foundation. This will mean that the project can start in Term 2, 2014. More funding is still needed to complete the first year of the project and to carry it through to its second year.
The project has received a great deal of support from many quarters; key people from the Shine movement, Nick Leggett, Mayor of Porirua, members of the Plimmerton Rotary Club, the Infinity Foundation, the Porirua Foundation, the teachers from the schools in Porirua who have opted to trial the approach during 2014, and schools both inside and outside Porirua that have willingly agreed to take part as comparison schools for 2014 with the option of trialling the approach during 2015.
At the start of Term 2 a coordinator will be employed to manage the project, and research assistants will undertake the assessments of children starting school during Term 2. Teachers in the schools trialling the approach will be using it in their classes from the start of Term 2.