Hillyfield Students SHINE

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2 November 2011: News just in – SHINE on Saturday students at Hillyfield Primary School this year achieved superb results, progressing twice as fast as expected and overtaking their classmates. And to think that they used to be underachievers. SoS Hillyfield 2009 teacher & kids cooking

Just last September, 80% of these SHINE students had substandard reading skills, 48% were below par in their writing and 44% were struggling in maths. What a difference a year can make. In their tests this summer, the same students had, on average, made twice the progress usually expected in a year. In fact, some of them had even made four times the expected rate of progress.

Great progress and outperformance

As a result, more than 80% are now fully up to speed in their writing and maths. SoS Hillyfield 2009 girl with headphones on computer (flipped)Two-thirds have also caught up completely in their reading. No surprise, then, that they compare well against their classmates. National assessments and school tests this summer showed that students who have been at SHINE for a year or more outperformed their non-SHINE peers in both literacy and maths. This is impressive in itself. However, it is even more remarkable when you consider that 70% of these students are not native English speakers and almost one-third have a Special Educational Need.


Perhaps we should not be so surprised. After all, SHINE on Saturday @ Hillyfield regularly delivers excellent results. Its teachers are firm believers in SHINE’s creative curriculum. This enables students to study a central theme from many angles, including literacy and maths and often history, geography and science as well. SoS Hillyfield 2009 assemblyOne theme covered by SHINE this year was ‘Tell it as it is: Newspapers and Journalism’. SHINE students produced a special newspaper which they circulated to children, parents and other members of the school.

Tips from the top

To begin with, the children learned how to write stories in a variety of styles; they were also taught how to produce work in a newspaper format. They visited the Guardian to see how a paper is produced and also interviewed a reporter from the Daily Mail. Training over, the SHINE students worked in teams to write features for their newspaper. These were then laid out using publishing software. In the final week of term, they also budgeted, planned and managed a launch event for their paper. All in all, the project taught them much about current affairs and the wider world, as well as providing intensive literacy, maths and ICT tuition.

Expert endorsement and rapid expansion

This is just the latest example of the impact regularly achieved by SHINE on Saturday. Last year the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) concluded a thorough, independent study into the programme and its results with an enthusiastic endorsement. It remarked on its “positive impact” on learning and how it is “improving educational outcomes” for SHINE students. NFER also reported improvements in students’ confidence, aspirations and motivation, which should help them sustain their progress in the years after they leave our programme. With this thumbs-up from the experts, we are extending SHINE on Saturday still further. We are particularly keen to fund clusters of primary schools in Greater London. So if you know of a school that could benefit from a SHINE on Saturday project, please do ask them to contact us.