A CRASHED ‘alien spaceship’ has helped fire the imagination of boys in Rawthorpe.
The crash was staged as part of a project to raise the youngsters’ literacy skills.
A dozen pupils from Rawthorpe Junior School have been chosen to take part in the pioneering project called More Than Me.
They are taking part in a huge range of writing skills including newspaper and magazine article writing as well as focussing on the skills and qualities which they need for their chosen career.
Traditionally boys are more reluctant to read and write than girls and standards end up being much lower.
In the spaceship scenario teachers played the roles of witnesses, detectives and forensic scientists for boys to interview to find out what happened.
The youngsters then worked with teachers to write a report and newspaper article about the dramatic event.
The project is the brainchild of deputy head Penny Kingston who is also the school’s literacy co-ordinator and assistant headteacher for teaching and learning.
She said: “There is a well-recognised national issue with boys writing and literacy standards and we are trying really hard at Rawthorpe to chose that gap.
“A similar project on reading led to a huge increase in boys reaching Government targets on reading and we are hoping to achieve the same thing with this project.
“We want to create in school an atmosphere where it’s cool and OK for boys to be good at writing and to celebrate that in a variety of ways.”
The 12 boys from years three to six have become Boys Ambassadors in the classroom for writing.
They have written to businesses within the town and will be interviewing several professionals about their roles in the workplace and the skills and qualities they need to succeed in their chosen profession.
The school’s artist in residence, Peter Spafford, is working with a group of boys from across the school on a weekly writing project to raise aspirations and encourage writing.
Each Wednesday lunch they can also take part in the Writing Sandwich run by Peter where any children can come to the classroom and work with him on any writing ideas they have, including lyrics for songs, stories and poetry.
A boys-only magazine is being created to help the youngsters’ reading and writing.
This involves older students from the Netherhall Learning Campus.
Mrs Kingston also has created a Random Writing Wall outside her office where writing is valued and displayed to encourage all writing.
“The aim is to close that gap and provide new strategies to get boys enjoying writing,” she added.