Literacy

Confident Communicators

Vision

Students at The Grove School will be able to articulate themselves in a confident and academic manner. They will be able to discuss tasks or ideas, question one another, construct considered arguments, negotiate meaning, clarify their own understanding and make their ideas comprehensible to others. Literacy will be at the heart of the school.

Confident Speakers

Confident Communicators takes a focus on developing Confident Speakers this half term, with the launch of our Speeches Free public speaking competition. Entrants are in teams of three, though you can apply as an individual and potentially either be teamed up with others to form a team or you can support a speaking team in a non-speaking role. You can speak on any topic of interest to you and the two best performing teams in school will be entered for the prestigious ESU Churchill Public Speaking Competition, sponsored by the International Churchill Society and the oldest and largest such contest in England and Wales. There will also be opportunity to compete with other teams across the Trust.

Writers’ Corner

Welcome to the inaugural article of Writers’ Corner. Every half term we will celebrate and promote the perspectives of our students, supporting them as they discover and develop their views of the world, as well as how they can make their written voice heard. We encourage all writers to become Confident Writers and to see the value in contributing to debate in a healthy, valuable and academic way. If you would like to submit your own article to Writers’ Corner, please email your article to Mr Pledger via email James.Pledger@groveschool.net

This month’s winner of Writers’ Corner is Lottie Frost and is taken from the speech delivered for The Grove School’s entry in the Churchill Public Speaking Competition. It was developed with the rest of the team – Georgie Ingham and Valeria Paslar – and Lottie was praised for her well-constructed argument, effective use of evidence and her clear, passionate and genuinely emotive delivery. On International Women’s Day, its message is more relevant than ever, especially as this year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’. Well done to Lottie, Georgie and Valeria: three young women who choose to challenge and who are sure to make a difference in the world.

On October 16, 1916 Margret Sanger made history, opening the first birth control clinic (after decades of advocating for birth control rights) in the United States and later becoming an international leader in this field. Margaret Sanger did not let governmental power, controlled by men, dictate what she was capable of doing and even spent time in jail after authorities realised she had opened a birth control clinic without permission. However, the publicity as a result of this sparked a public debate and gave Margret Sanger another chance in which she succeeded and allowed women, in many countries across the world, to have a choice with their body. By not allowing men in power to silence her, Margaret Sanger achieved her goal. She did not accept but challenged.

In the 1960s, women began entering the workforce in the UK; after years of the feminist movement advocating for women’s right to work, the pay gap was astounding but for the 1960s it was just an accomplishment that women were finally given the chance. You’d think in the 21st century that there are no longer any pay gaps, however this is not the case. The gender pay gap from data last year was on average 15.5%, which doesn’t seem like much, but it’s still there, it still exists, and it does make an impact. Research shows that as well as this pay gap, if I were to apply for a job with the exact same qualifications as a man also applying, I would have 30% less of a chance of getting the job, simply because of being a woman. Explain to me how this is fair? Explain to me how this is equality? Explain to me why we should be disadvantaged because of our gender? I either don’t understand or this is wrong. There are 197 countries in the world, yet The World Bank found only 6 of those countries enshrine equal legal work rights for women and England is not one of those 6. We must not accept this, as Margret Sanger once said. We must challenge it.

Opportunities for young women in education have always been limited, which I’ve never understood. Our country was the first to allow a female student to attend university back in 1878 but still to this day, 130 million girls do not receive an education which is both shocking and disheartening. If I were to have been born in a country such as South Sudan, there would be no chance I would have an opportunity to read a speech like this; in fact, I probably wouldn’t even be able to read and if I did try and voice my opinion, I could put myself in serious danger. This is a reality for women born in these countries. You may have heard of the inspiring Malala Yousafzai, a young girl who was born in Pakistan and demanded that girls should be allowed to receive an education. She was shot in the head for using her voice but luckily she survived and became the famous activist she is today. She did not accept but challenged and I think because us women born in England have the gift of education, it is our duty to stand with – and for – women born in these limited countries, to challenge their governments and fight for the gift we take for granted, that they never get to experience.

This next issue is something I can say happens in practically every civilised country which feels normalised, but is extremely wrong: men taking advantage and objectifying women. If you were to ask 5 women if they’ve ever experienced cat calling, I guarantee at least 4 out of the 5 you ask will say yes. In fact 5 out of the 5 you might ask could say yes as 99% of women in a recent study admitted to experiencing some sort of street harassment. Unfortunately, this isn’t rare and happens to so many people. The respect some men have for women is bare to none and I find it disgusting how so many take advantage of us women. Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence and nearly 1 in 5 girls are sexually abused at least once in her lifetime. And so many people don’t know this, but they need to.

In the UK, we are very grateful for our NHS. Especially now while they are saving the lives of people fighting COVID-19 and risking their lives. Well, 77% of NHS workers are female. They deserve respect; we deserve respect. Gender equality has never existed; we continue to get closer to it, but until we can afford to stop challenging the limitations we have, we know there is still reason to fight for it. Woman must not accept; she must challenge. #choosetochallenge

Review of ITV2’s ‘Love Island’ by Tanisha Dewey

Love Island is a reality dating series that first aired in 2005. A group of men and women are sent to a villa on an undisclosed island to carry out tasks with a partner. These partners swap until they find the ‘love of their life’. This show is watched by millions globally, a majority of the viewers being children and teens. Due to this, it has created many problems and added to the already demanding media list of expectations for the ‘perfect person’. It presents false ideals to the younger people of this generation such as body image, behaviour and expectations in a relationship.

Body image and self-confidence have been issues for a while, poisoning the minds of young people with the role models they are presented with. Because of social media, instead of supporting and looking up to people for their views and actions, teens in particular are slowly starting to idolise people because of what they look like and how famous they are. Love Island doesn’t help this. Contestants are often social media influencers and gym junkies, presenting unnatural body types to impressionable minds. The women are usually stick thin with perfect makeup and hair, often wearing revealing clothing. The men on the show are also unhealthy stereotypes of male physique, being fit and athletically inclined with a perfect tan.

Food psychologist Kimberley Wilson explained how media can have a negative impact, dubbing it the ‘Love Island effect’. She said that the ’Love Island effect’ is the continuous promotion of a singular body type and the uniformity of the contenders, and how it affects the youth. Watching hours of focused TV and social media content filled with body images negatively impacts self-esteem and impacts not only the viewers, but the contestants as well.

There have been protests and rants on platforms such as Twitter about the effect of the show and all of the comments contribute to one thing: this is the belief that ‘You have to look a certain way to be deemed attractive and to be deemed worthy of love’.

The show also affects young people’s views on expectations in a relationship. It is no secret that contestants are encouraged to swap and change partners, just to cause drama and pick up interest rates on the show. This teaches young people that being unfaithful to a partner is OK. In 2019, Woman’s Aid issued a statement about the show and the effects it has on youth. It mentioned ‘Gaslighting’ – a form of emotional abuse that makes someone question their own feelings, memories and version of reality. This is an important issue that has been talked about in the past, but is still prevalent. Studies show one in four young teens state that they are more influenced by celebrities than people they are close to. Love Island showcases a few forms of emotional abuse as normal, desensitising impressionable people to its toxicity.

In my opinion, Love Island is unhealthy for the minds and wellbeing of young people. It shows off unrealistic standards and gender-role stereotypes. The show also lacks diversity, both in terms of ethnicity and of body type. This generation has changed inequality, gaining rights and respect for all minorities, so I think it would be good for reality TV to showcase that.

To conclude, this show isn’t positive for anyone and should either change its course or be taken off air for the good of impressionable minds.

Literacy at The Grove School and The Marches Academy Trust

At The Grove School we want every child to have freedom of choice when it comes to careers and be able to take up great opportunities offered to them. No child should be prevented from having a fulfilled life and future by not having the necessary skills especially in literacy. Parents will know that literacy is fundamental to their child’s well-being. It enables them to function in their everyday lives whilst giving them the lifelong skills to be able to communicate effectively, articulate their ideas and understand and interpret the ideas of others. Over the past 4 years, we have developed a range of strategies to increase the status of literacy within our school environment, such as our Reading School, World Book Week, author visits and a range of competitions including our recent house competition that focused on essay writing skills.

Exciting events that promote improving literacy 
In recent years, we have held a fantastic range of events to develop out students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening. These include:

  • Celebration of World Book Week with a range of activities and events celebrating reading throughout the school
  • All Year 6 students receiving an independent reading book for our summer transition project and Summer Reading Challenge
  • Visiting writers Frank Cottrell Boyce, who promoted his new novel ‘The Adventures of Broccoli Boy’, and both Paul Dowswell and Linda Newberry, whose short stories featured in the ‘Stories of World War I’ anthology
  • A range of debating competitions
  • A young writer’s club
  • Our daily Reading School session
  • The success of our Reading Rangers programme, where Year 7 and 8 students are supported by our Year 10 and 12 students who act as their reading buddies.
  • Participation in ‘Talk the Talk’ workshops with Year 9 students to develop their confidence in speaking and listening.