LAW firm Ward Hadaway has assisted on an educational programme which started in Middlesbrough and is helping hundreds of school children across the country with their reading.
Intellectual property experts at Ward Hadaway, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, advised Sound Training for Reading on the development and protection of its unique literacy improvement programme.
After starting out in Middlesbrough, the programme is now helping pupils across the country at locations including Bristol, London, Suffolk, Essex and the Isle of Wight via specially trained teachers and a comprehensive online support suite.
Sound Training for Reading has been developed by Katy Parkinson, who previously worked for over 10 years at Middlesbrough Council as the senior co-ordinator of the authority’s learning and language team.
During this time, she worked with pupils in Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 to support them in their literacy efforts and to improve their reading skills.
Katy set up her own company in 2011 to take the ideas she developed to a wider audience and Sound Training for Reading was born.
Alex Shiel, partner and head of intellectual property at Ward Hadaway, advised Katy on the transfer of the intellectual property, which she had developed, from Middlesbrough Council to the new company.
Sound Training for Reading is based in Boho One in Middlesbrough where DigitalCity Business helped support the establishment of the company.
Alex Shiel continues to advise Sound Training for Reading on ongoing commercial and intellectual property issues.
He said: “Katy and the team at Sound Training for Reading have come up with a fantastic programme which has already achieved some outstanding results and promises to be of real benefit to pupils and teachers across the country.
“In setting up the company, it was important to agree with Middlesbrough Council on which elements of the work that Katy has carried out for the authority could be transferred over to the new company and how this would be arranged.
“Because Sound Training for Reading also has a lot of innovative elements as an educational programme, it is also vital to ensure that those are properly protected so that Katy and the team can retain control of their ideas and make full commercial use of them. This is even more important now that the programme has really taken off and is being regularly used on a national basis.”
Sound Training for Reading is aimed at both secondary and primary school pupils and works by a combination of intense small group teaching sessions backed up with an online resource.
The company provides fully qualified teachers, trained in the Sound Training for Reading techniques, as well as all teaching resources to its school clients.
Its online resource also allows for teachers of all subjects within client schools to add to an ever growing bank of words so that pupils are able to master new and unfamiliar vocabulary across the entire school curriculum.
Mike Williams, business manager at Sound Training for Reading, said: “Literacy is a burning issue at the moment, both politically and educationally, and it is central to the agenda of improving children’s education.
“If children struggle with literacy, it can hold them back not just in English but in subjects right across the curriculum so that is what we try to address with our programme.
“Ofsted has recently been critical about the standards of literacy in schools and is introducing a requirement for literacy skills to be taught across the curriculum, which is exactly what Sound Training for Reading does.”
While retaining its base in Middlesbrough, Sound Training for Reading has become a national success.
Mark Elliott, CEO of DigitalCity Business, said: “When Katy first came to me with her business idea, I knew we had a potentially massive business on our hands. She’s been brilliant, and she’s built a great team and a great business.”