Stevenage school wins praise for its language skills from singer who overcame a stutter

Left, headteacher Jayne Currant, Gareth Gates and assistant head Louise Hogan.

Left, headteacher Jayne Currant, Gareth Gates and assistant head Louise Hogan.

richard tatham

A Stevenage primary school has been praised for its communication and language teaching by a singer who battled a stutter to hit the big time.

Gareth Gates who has had to deal with a stutter throughout his life – and shot to fame after coming second in the ITV television talent contest Pop Idol in 2002, announced a special commendation for Broom Barns Community Primary School at The 2017 Shine a Light Awards, run by education firm Pearson.

School staff travelled to London on Thursday where the awards ceremony was hosted by singer Gates who used the acclaimed McGuire programme to overcome his stutter and now teaches on it himself.

The school was commended for its continued commitment to developing its pupils’ communication skills at the national awards.

Organisers said the school has taken a ‘hearts and minds’ approach to ensuring that children can improve and develop their communication and language skills. This includes appointing a lead for communication and language who has received additional specialist training.

Head teacher Jayne Currant, said: “The Shine a Light Awards were an inspirational afternoon. We accepted the award in recognition of all the hard work and commitment that our staff give to pupils speech, language and communication development. We are thrilled!”

Gates, said: “The dedication of Broom Barns Community Primary School is outstanding. Being able to communicate with confidence is often taken for granted but for many it is an everyday struggle. I have found my stutter crippling at times but I have learnt ways to manage my difficulties with the support of others.

“It is heart-warming to know that children and young people across England are getting the support they need to develop and achieve goals that may not have been possible otherwise. Broom Barns Community Primary School should be extremely proud of their award.”

Chris Hall, director of clinical assessment at Pearson, said: “Congratulations to the school for its highly commended achievement. Creating a communication lead teacher with extensive training for all staff shows the dedication the school has towards bettering its pupils’ communication skills. The clear progression screening process that has been put in place across the school provides a great example for others to follow.”

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