A Wirral school's 'innovative' literacy programme has been shortlisted for a leading education award.

Educate Awards named Birkenhead Park School among the finalists for the Innovative and Creative Literacy Award 2021.

It is in recognition of 'The Big Read' an ambitious project aimed at improving life chances and academic success rates for Birkenhead Park's students through focused reading time both in and out of class.

Introduced in 2018, the programme was a direct and meaningful response to the number of students who joined the school from primary education with an assessed reading age ability of below their actual age in years.

According to figures, nearly three quarters of its year seven students have improved their reading ages, and in further years up to 65% progressed beyond their actual age in terms of their reading and literacy abilities.

Timetabled sessions with form tutors see all students in the first three years of high school take part in a 30-minute read of the same book each day, with teachers reading aloud while students follow in their own copies of the books. The books are chosen to be age appropriate and diverse for each stage of development.

Teachers have received specialist training to raise the aspirations of all students when it comes to reading, producing inspiring assemblies to introduce each new book, and also have targeted interventions for students who are identified as having particularly low reading ages.

Birkenhead Park School's headteacher Helen Johnson, said: "This is a project that we have worked passionately and tirelessly on, so to receive national recognition is not just an honour but also deserved praise for the tremendously dedicated staff we have here at the school.

"We are an inclusive school, and both here and across the BePART Educational Trust that we are part of, we believe in the science and research that tells us that all students can achieve given the right tools and the right work ethic.

"The success of The Big Read project is also a reflection of the positive attitude and determination that our students have shown across the years which has been second-to-none.

"Our goal is to change lives, and the Big Read programme is just one element of how we go about that every day.”

Birkenhead Park School is one of three finalists shortlisted for the Innovative and Creative Literacy Award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral on November 19 honouring the very best in educational practice.