Greenshaw Learning Trust Case Study

This incredibly informative case study, provided by Josie Mingay at Greenshaw Learning Trust, really captivates the importance of Tutor Reading Time and how just 20 minutes everyday can benefit their overall English knowledge capabilities.

Also, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and schools beginning to look over the horizon of returning back to normality, the Tutor Reading Time Programme helps enable students to have their own individual text which is not shared, so this helps to provide ease when looking at the potential spread of the virus, and with this technique, not only does it extremely minimise any risk, but also helps students learn more and more each day.

Greenshaw Learning Trust

Josie Mingay is School Improvement Lead at Greenshaw Learning Trust; a role she has held since September 2017, having originally worked for the Trust as Head of Literacy and Language. The Trust currently has 15 primary, secondary and specialist schools located in Sutton – its main HQ – as well as other parts of Surrey, Berkshire and Gloucestershire. Josie is driving the Trust’s innovative Tutor Time Reading Programme across all secondary schools. 

“The Tutor Time Reading Programme is, put simply, an ambitious initiative for students in Years 7-11 to read for 20 minutes every day of the school year,” Josie explained. “The programme sees tutors reading a text aloud, with students tracking the reading using a ruler or bookmark on their own copy. Given that our schools range from 600-1,500 pupils we needed a trusted book supplier who could provide high-quality texts with high challenge. One of our Heads of English recommended MBE Books, and this partnership has been key to a successful roll-out. The programme has already had significant impact on 7,000 pupils; it is a huge investment in time, energy and finances but one we are incredibly passionate about.”

Formerly a Literacy Leader at Greenshaw High School, as well as a primary school teacher, Josie said that the Tutor Time Reading Programme had “really broken the mould”. She continued: “This is something we introduce to joining schools from their first INSET day as part of the Greenshaw Learning Trust, and all early signs suggest that it is successfully improving reading across the board, particularly in our South-West schools but also in our South-East and South-Central schools. It is benefitting students as a settling activity in the mornings; improving cultural literacy; broadening minds; encouraging empathy; improving Tier 2 vocabulary and cultivating a wonderful community of readers. We measure impact against our original intentions for the programme; for students to improve their standardised reading scores, for increased enjoyment in reading together, and for continued exposure to and understanding of unfamiliar vocabulary. We are content with our decision not to measure every single aspect of the initiative, and know that with the help of MBE Books, pupils are being exposed to high-quality, rich texts on a daily basis.”

MBE Books has been supplying books to thousands of schools for over 30 years and offers an unrivalled service delivering all orders for stock titles the following day. All books come supplied and fitted with free plastic jackets, saving schools a lot of time and prolonging the life of the books. The company was purchased by the UK arm of Scholastic in 2018. “We have been really pleased with the relationship with MBE Books; it has been very effective,” Josie said. “The team have been hugely reliable and consistent in their approach. The free protective covers prevent wear and tear, meaning we can use the books again and again without damage. If the team has not had a title in stock, they commit to sourcing and delivering it for you. We have bought literally thousands of books from MBE Books over the past couple of years. Buying in bulk as a multi-academy trust has been incredibly beneficial – the Tutor Time Reading Programme is part of our identity; it is something we do every day, so to make that happen, we really need a committed partner.”

For now, Greenshaw Learning Trust will continue to run the programme in secondary schools, though Josie revealed that she is looking to introduce a similar model at primary level in the near future. “We believe that schools want clarity,” she said. “Success for a reading programme of this scale relies on clarity of expectation and implementation, so we make it our business to ensure that teaching staff are not only clear on our reasoning behind the approach, but are also supported in using evidence-informed strategies in the classroom through rigorous training and carefully-implemented delivery. It is imperative that all senior leaders across our family of schools not only engage with the programme, but drive it from the top down; that is where we see the greatest success.”

Case study developed: July 2019