Manchester

Blogging makes writing 'cool' for boys at Bolton school

Pupil at Heathfield County Primary
Image caption "On the blog, you can write about anything like football or hobbies" - Matthew, year 6

A primary school in Greater Manchester claims that getting children to blog has made writing "cool" - and helped boost test results.

Pupils at Heathfield County Primary in Bolton regularly write blogs which are published on the school's website.

Formerly, boys especially were not interested in writing, said the school.

But the number of students blogging has flourished while their results have risen almost seven-fold.

"The enthusiasm levels of the children are really, really high," said deputy head David Mitchell who has pioneered online teaching at the school which includes blog writing."

When the school was forced to close in January because of the snow, classes continued via the school's website despite staff and children being unable to get into the building.

Mr Mitchell added that the school had also seen a marked increase in its Sats (Standard Assessment Tests) results for literacy.

"On average, the children that have left us in Year 6 made two years' progress in writing in one year."

He added the number of children achieving level 5 and above in Sats writing tests had increased from 9% to 60%.

Bucking a trend

And it's not just year 6 students. Blogging has now been officially introduced to the curriculum with even five-year-olds being encouraged to write about their lessons.

Traditionally, boys are less interested in writing than girls which is reflected in national figures.

In 2010, 9% of boys in England - about 18,000 - achieved a maximum of level 2 in reading by the age of 11 - the standard expected of a seven-year-old, with that figure even higher (15%) in Manchester.

Matthew, a year 6 pupil, said: "Boys don't necessarily like to write in books.

"But on the blog, you can write about anything like football or hobbies or anything you do."

Head teacher Dianne Spencer said she was proud the school was bucking a trend in education.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that most boys do not enjoy writing," she wrote on her own school blog.

"So what is happening at Heathfield? Our boys are learning to love the process of writing."

"Year 6 boys and girls now think that writing is cool," she added.

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