Professional beatboxer, breakdancer, freestyle footballer and author join Skills Academy students for fun event

28 Jun 2019

We hosted a special event at MECA in Swindon to celebrate our Skills Academy reading intervention, sponsored by Clarks.

40 lucky students from St Joseph’s Catholic College in Swindon and Mountain Ash Comprehensive in Cardiff got the chance to show off their skills at exciting workshops in:

  • Beatboxing with Midé Adenaike from the A Capella group ‘Sons of Pitches’, who won BBC 2’s ‘The Naked Choir’ with Gareth Malone
  • Breakdancing with Sunanda Biswas, who contributed to the choreography of the Olympics opening ceremony
  • Freestyle football with world renowned freestyle footballer Jamie Knight
  • Literacy activities with bestselling children’s author Ben Lyttleton, inspired by his Football School series of books

Mountain Ash Secondary School has participated in Skills Academy this year, which has already helped improve the literacy levels of the students. The event gave students the chance to come together, meet the professionals in these fields and celebrate the literacy, sport, dance and music skills they have been learning as part of the programme.

Our Skills Academy programme uses the excitement and interest of freestyle football, beatbox and breakdance to engage students with literacy and reading for pleasure. To date, our programme has helped 1 in 3 participating students in Years 7 and 8 improve their reading age by an average of 11 months in just 10 weeks.

Over the next five years, the National Literacy Trust and Clarks are aiming to improve the reading skills of more than 22,500 students in Years 7 and 8 through the programme.

“It’s been great fun running the Skills Academy programme in our school this year with 22 selected year seven and eight pupils. We have really seen an improvement in the students’ engagement with reading and they’ve all moved up at least one year’s reading level! They’ve loved the reward of learning new sporting and musical skills. In fact, it’s been so popular at school that we’ve been inundated with other students wanting to take part! It’s been fantastic to see them all in action today and celebrate their hard work and new skills.”

Daniel Richards, PE teacher at Mountain Ash Comprehensive School