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Pocklington School celebrates partnership of award-winning Chatta programme in local primary schools

Pocklington School celebrates partnership of award-winning Chatta programme in local primary schools
Four representatives from Chatta, Pocklington School, Shine Trust and Hull City Council at the Chatta Celebration event

Pocklington School recently hosted a celebration event to mark the conclusion of a three year project supporting 12 schools in Hull in partnership with the award-winning education innovation Chatta.

Chatta is a whole-class teaching method, based on pictures and storyboards and linked with spoken language. It is mainly aimed at early years provision, but it can be used further up the school with the training and resources provided. One of the main aims is to model language using pictures to scaffold content and help children with their working memory which can lead to wider vocabulary use.

The project was funded by Shine Trust, a charity which aims to address challenges faced by disadvantaged children across the North of England.

The event was compered by Baasit Siddiqui, Chief Executive of Siddiqui Education, who, although known for his regular TV appearances on Channel 4’s ‘Gogglebox’, as a former teacher devotes his work to supporting teachers and young people with an emphasis on social mobility.

The Chatta celebration event was co hosted by Chris Williams, former teacher and Founder of Chatta, and attended by Toby Seth, Headmaster, Pocklington School, Sheena McNamee, Director of External Relations, staff from Pocklington School as well as project leaders from the Shine Trust and Sue Cornwall, Head of Standards and Partnerships at Hull City Council, and several participating project schools from Hull and East Yorkshire.

The key objective of the project was to enable all participating children to exceed age-related expectations prior to starting the reception year at school. Three years on and the data suggests that Chatta has done just this. When Chris started the project, he identified disadvantaged schools in Hull with only 44% achieving a good level of development. This has now increased to 67% which is just above the national average.

“I’m not saying this is entirely due to us, but we have been involved along the way with the training resources and support,” said Chris. “It is definitely a cause for celebration that the schools we’ve worked with are now on average performing above the city average.”

Chris Williams from Chatta demonstrating the programme in a classroom

Chris Williams presented project data and in discussion with him, Sue Cornwall stated that the impact was ‘magnificent’. Leanne Marquis, project leader at The Shine Trust enthused that the project has seen ‘impressive impact’ which the charity hopes to replicate in other regions. Sheena McNamee explained how she had seen the difference Chatta makes on visits to Hull schools and felt the work of all participants was ‘inspirational’.

Toby Seth, Headmaster, Pocklington School reflected: "This was a true celebration of a project which has shown impressive collaboration between several partners: state and independent education, third sector funding and Chatta itself. Pocklington School has been proud to be involved in the project, and I am looking forward to see what happens next. Having had the opportunity to see Chatta in action at local primary schools, I know it works and feel sure that the benefits will be long lasting."

Chatta is a company Pocklington School has been working with for several years and this project has been a successful collaboration between the School and third and private sectors. Chatta has been funded with investment capital from Mercia Asset Holdings.  Former Pocklington School student Charlotte Scott, who now works with Mercia and is on the board of Chatta, attended her former school to join the celebration.

Photo L-R: Baasit Siddiqui, Chief Executive of Siddiqui Education; Chris Williams, former teacher and Founder of Chatta; Sheena McNamee, External Relations Director, Pocklington School; Helen Tan, Early Years Standards and Improvement Officer, Hull City Council, at the celebration event held at Pocklington School