TWO innovative teachers from Barnsley hope to help bridge the north/south educational divide.

Teachers David Fallis and Michelle Lockwood, both from Barnsley, are both previous ‘Let Teachers Shine’ winners, having won funding from the charity SHINE to support their creative educational ideas.

In 2017, SHINE relocated to Leeds in order to concentrate efforts in the north and Michelle and David want other Barnsley teachers to apply to the charity to support their own ideas.

Michelle founded the programme ‘Spelling Beats’, where pupils practise their spelling through the concept of Dj’ing and was supported by SHINE.

“They learn spelling over original music tracks, ranging from grime to hip Hop,” she said.

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“Students love the concept of the program and are engaged in this method of spelling practice.”

David, of Old Town, who teaches at Springwell Learning Community, has been supported by SHINE for more than four years with his project Active Phonics, which teaches the early stages of reading via children’s love of sport and games. It started with a pupil throwing a ball at letters on a sports hall wall and has now expanded dramatically supporting hundreds of pupils across Barnsley and beyond.

“Initially, the funding I was allocated allowed me to trial the project in other schools.”

Due to its success, Active Phonics was awarded additional funding and support to work with ten schools, and then further to 50 schools.

“The funding has allowed me to work with numerous schools and deliver training to hundreds of professionals. Over the last six months or so we are working with more schools outside of the Barnsley area and the Active Phonics website has nearly a thousand registrations from all over the UK.

“With SHINE’s support the simple idea from five years ago is now a targeted intervention with clear evidence of academic impact. Active Phonics now exists as a Community Interest Company and with the support of Positive Regard Teaching School Alliance and Wellspring Academy Trust, is looking to recruit staff to support the overwhelming demand for the project.

“I am pleased to be working with Michelle in roles of SHINE ambassadors and urge teachers to apply if they have an innovative idea; we would be more than willing to support teachers with their applications and we would love to see further winning projects from Barnsley.”

If you are a teacher, or know a teacher with an innovative idea or project, apply to the Let Teachers Shine Competition. The deadline for entries is midnight on April 23. Visit here.