Title of case study:
Principality staff providing literacy support for our year 8 pupils
Area(s) of focus:
Improve pupil outcomes in L2
Improve pupil outcomes in L1
Reduce the FSM gap
Reduce the gap – vulnerable pupils
School(s) or partnership name:
Llanishen High School
Name of lead person:
Role of lead person:
Lead person e-mail address:
Lead person telephone number:
Context and background to case study:
Over the last 5 years we have experienced a significant change in our school catchment. This is due in part to the closure of Llanederyn High School and implementation of the Cardiff School Reorganisation Plan. This has resulted in a steady rise in eFSM pupils as well as a sharp increase in the number of pupils entering high school with poor literacy and numeracy scores. Our aim was to extend our partnership working in the local and wider community to develop opportunities for pupils and raise ambition and aspiration.
As a result, we entered into a formal partnership with Principality; the largest building society in Wales. They have a local branch near to the school and their head office is located nearby in Cardiff City Centre. After an extensive audit process we centred our partnership working on three main areas:
Nature of strategy or activity:
The partnership resulted in several strands of support within the school:
- To provide literacy support at Key Stage 3 as well as mentoring and role models for pupils
- To identify and provide intervention for potential NEETs
- To support the work of the school in raising the aspiration and ambition of pupils entitled to free school meals
The Principality recruited 10 members of staff who were trained as literacy coaches by the Cardiff Reading Power team. The Principality committed to releasing these staff on a weekly basis to act as reading mentors for 30 minutes a week. Many of the staff were ex-pupils of Llanishen High School, lived locally or worked in the Llanishen Principality Branch. These factors contributed to the success of the pilot.
The school identified 10 pupils from year 8 who were below functional literacy and would benefit from having a mentor. The school produced a short pen portrait on each pupil. The Principality did likewise with their staff and suitable pairings were identified. The parents of the pupils selected were informed in writing. The initial pilot scheme was very successful (see results below) and the scheme continued with new cohorts of pupils coming into year 8.
As part of the supported provided, Principality arranged for Beyond the Border and a professional storyteller to visit the school; which involved the pupils listening to stories and getting to find out about storytelling career possibilities as well.
The Principality+ Scheme is a programme of 3 distinct modules that have been designed and are delivered by Principality Building Society staff in conjunction with school staff. The aim is to provide identified Year 11 pupils with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in applying for and securing future education and employment.
Twelve of our Year 11 pupils were selected to take part in the scheme throughout the spring of 2015. The pupils were identified by the Year Team Leader and the criteria included any pupil we identified as potentially ‘not in education or training’ from the summer of 2015.
Each of the three modules is a 3 hour morning session and covers the following areas:
- Literacy support - Principality staff providing literacy support for our year 8 pupils
After the success of the programme this year, we will be running it again for the current Year 11’s and will bring the scheme forward into the autumn term.
- How to prepare yourself for, and present yourself at interview;
- How to succeed in a job interview. This included a mock job interview and mentoring/coaching. Pupils were shown examples of really bad interviews too.
- CV writing with examples for pupils to critique;
- Financial education; exploring pay slips and understanding potential deductions from salaries, putting together a budget and learning about the consequences of debt.
- There are tasks for the pupils to complete in-between the modules which the school supports;
- An award ceremony takes place for those pupils who successfully complete the scheme, and they receive a certificate as well as their completed pack of materials for CV writing and interview preparation. More importantly, however, they will receive a very unique opportunity that will stand them in good stead for the next stage of their life and learning.
- The pupils got a visit from the Principality Chief Executive Graeme Yorston and Finance Director Steve Hughes – who shared their own career stories with pupils and answered questions.
In order to develop financial and business awareness, Principality staff work with our Key Stage 4 WBQ team on the enterprise element of the Year 10 challenge. They take the role of ‘Dragons’ in the Dragons Den in exercise that boosts the pupils entrepreneurial skills (and ambitions), along with encouraging more general communication and teamwork skills.
Principality are also working with the WJEC on a number of potential challenges for the new WBQ specification; one of which is their ‘50 to raise 150’ which could provide £50 to a group of WBQ pupils in order for them to raise £150 for the charity MIND Cymru (which is the Principality Charity of the Year for 2015).
We have now secured a further three year partnership with the Principality Building Society (2015-18). The way they have helped us will now be expanded to other schools in which Principality have relationships. Again subject to confirmation this support will follow the Business in the Community (BITC) Business Class approach – which as of September 2015 will be operated by Careers Wales. Business Class aims to build the relationships between businesses and schools and provide targeted support as identified by each school community.
Principality will attend our Senior Leadership Team meetings once each half term to identify further areas for support. They have also sponsored our boys rugby team, providing new kits and a very special commemorative kit for the Welsh Schools Final 2015 – which the team won for a second consecutive year. The girls hockey team is in the process of getting a new kit.
In September, 50 pupils will be taking part in a team building challenge at the Celtic Manor Resort, which is another element of support provided by the Principality. Also looking ahead the Principality are currently exploring a number of potential financial education workshops, which would be delivered to schools across Wales in partnership with the Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG).
1) Impact on provision, teaching and learning and/or leadership:
Outcomes of literacy support – Principality staff providing literacy support for our year 8 pupils:
Quantative and qualitative evidence from the pilot:
2) Outcomes of the Employability+ Programme:
- Development of financial awareness (and other support)
3) Impact on Principality
Principality provide support as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility Programme – which involves local sponsorship activity, staff volunteering, charity engagement and a wide range of corporate sponsorships like the Eisteddfod and Only Boys Aloud. The engagement with the school (along with others across Wales is part of their ‘proud to be at the heart of our communities’ value.
Principality completed a BITC responsible business health check assessment in December 2014 and according to the review they were 9% above the responsible business average score for financial services organisations. The Principality brand is big on community; according to the 2014 brand health check findings, when asked which organisations do you think of for involvement in the local community, 55% identified Principality compared to 38% for nearest competitor (according to current Principality customers) with 19% and 9% respectively (for non-Principality customers).
Principality was recognised in the BITC Cymru Awards 2015 as Welsh Governments Responsible Large Business of the Year. The strong relationship with the Llanishen High School community was a big contributing factor to this success.
Business benefits of volunteering
Research by the CIPD has identified numerous business benefits of staff volunteering, including increased community awareness through meeting and working with a range of different community members, development of coaching and mentoring skills, and improved team working and communication skills. Feedback from Principality is that their staff have experienced these benefits by working with the school.
Where is the good practice recognised?
Principality website and intranet
The Principality website has featured news stories about the school:
The Principality intranet has also featured a number of stories about the school – keeping almost 1000 staff members informed.
BITC Cymru website
The BITC Cymru website features information about the Responsible Large Business of the Year award:
Local branch and summer events
The local Principality Branch in Llanishen has displayed a celebratory poster for the rugby team, which was also featured in our promotional activities for the Royal Welsh Show 2015 and Eisteddfod 2015.
Principality Local Marketing Support Manager
Principality Continuous Improvement Consultant
- 12 pupils from year 11 completed the Employability+ programme in Spring 2015
- 3 pupils (25%) achieved the Level 2 threshold including English and mathematics (including 1 FSM pupil)
- 3 pupils (25%) achieved the Level 2 threshold
- 5 pupils (42%) achieved the Level 1 threshold (including 2 FSM pupils)
- 1 pupil did not achieve the Level 1 threshold