2022 is quickly coming to a close. It’s been a busy year and, in many respects, a difficult one. But we’re focusing on the positives of 2022. English football had its first major tournament win since 1966, thank you Lionesses. The UK came 2nd in Eurovision, giving us hosting rights for next year’s competition, losing only to Ukraine in a heartfelt show of solidarity from the rest of Europe. And the UK is still going strong in the entertainment world with Britons winning Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys to boot.
Lexonik has had its fair share of good news as well. 2022 marked a lot of firsts for us and some happy continuations, from huge numbers of teachers trained and students reached, to globetrotting professional development delivery. We can’t wait to give you our 2022 year in review.
New year, new CEO
At the very start of 2022 we appointed Sarah Ledger as new CEO. Sarah was an English teacher and a head of subject for years, and this experience has proven extremely valuable in how we conduct ourselves. To have someone who has worked in schools, and understands what educators go through on a day-to-day basis, leading the charge makes us emphatically better at meeting teachers’ needs.
Sarah has had a whirlwind year herself, a lot of which we will cover later in this very blog.
Huge numbers of schools and teachers reached
Our goal has always been to train as many teachers as possible in our literacy intervention programmes, so they in turn can use our methodology to improve learners’ lives for generations to come. We could simply go into a school and go through the programmes with the learners and make a difference for a year, but students only stay in school for a short time. If we train the teachers, then they can use that training on student after student as each new cohort comes in, ensuring that the schools’ progress in literacy sticks.
That’s why we’re delighted that this year we have been taken on by 329 new schools, including 164 Lexonik Leap licences and 96 Lexonik Advance licences. Altogether that means we’ve trained over 500 teachers this year! To have over 500 educators impacting the lives of students for years to come is an amazing result. Think how many students have improved in phonics, vocabulary, reading fluency and many more literacy skills as a result of this year alone. We couldn’t be prouder.
The National Literacy Trust gave Lexonik Advance a glowing report
In November, we received the National Literacy Trust’s Impact Evaluation Study of Lexonik Advance. The report had been in the making since September 2021, giving the National Literacy Trust over a year to really investigate just how well Lexonik Advance works.
Lexonik Advance is our flagship programme, aimed at learners with a standardised reading score of 85 – 115 and delivered in a 1:4 teaching ratio, with a focus on developing phonological awareness, automaticity, vocabulary and comprehension. We were obviously very eager to see the results and learn just how effective the intervention programme is.
The results were phenomenal. Children who were decoding above the national average saw a more than five-fold increase and, on average, students scored 94.5 on the test before taking part. After taking part in the programme, the average score had increased to 106.0 and the changes were sustained months after the programme ended.
The effects didn’t just have impact on learners, but the educators too. More than 9 in 10 staff felt their school was better equipped to support students’ reading overall after taking part in the programme. Nearly 3 in 4 told the National Literacy Trust they had shared what they had learned in the training with their colleagues, indicating that learning and strategies are being cascaded within the school, creating a potential for systematic change in teaching practice.
To get the proof that Lexonik Advance works to such a degree was outstanding. All of us at Lexonik are passionate about getting learners literate, so you can imagine the feeling around the office when we found that Advance was this effective.
The Department for Education gives Lexonik an expected 3-year grant
Another major announcement that came towards the end of the year was the Department of Education (DfE) awarding Lexonik with an expected 3-year grant to support post-16 learners with their English.
The grant allows us to do this by providing free professional development to colleges in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber. Going into 2023, post-16 English resit teachers and facilitators will be trained to deliver Lexonik's student intervention programmes and will be supported through a suite of eLearning courses and live remote training.
To get the news that we were selected for this grant was amazing. It even got picked up by the Tees Valley Business Club that a Middlesbrough-based firm has been selected by a government department to develop the skills of essential educators.
This truly means a lot to us as Further Education is the last chance for many learners to become fully literate. The fact that we will be implementing this in our own backyard cannot be understated either. We have a chance here to impact our own community by helping learners just before they go into the workforce; these are the young minds that will come to shape our region and we are honoured to shoulder the responsibility of developing their essential skills. There are so few jobs that don’t require literacy in some capacity, so it’s not a responsibility we take lightly. Our hope is to help these learners now so they can build a better future for themselves, our local area, and our surrounding regions.
Getting by with a little help from our friends
Lexonik is by no means an island and this year we’ve had the support and trusted partnership of various people and organisations.
BSME not only help us with promotion in that region, but they host some of our digital Professional Development courses. They did so in September showcasing The Explicit Teaching of Vocabulary directly to an audience who would benefit most from it.
GL Assessment and International are budding partners of ours. They supply schools with assessments such as the NGRT or CAT4, which make it easy for educators to identify the struggles their learners may be having with literacy. We look to be the natural progression of that process: assessed, identified, Lexonik. We look forward to working with them more in 2023.
Back home we have our share of friends as well. BESA helps us connect to a community of other education suppliers, as well as keeping us informed on new government regulations and changes that effect businesses like ours. Due to BESA, we can work with like-minded businesses with similar goals to become better suppliers and aid educators more than we already do.
Zen Elements, our web developers, provided us with a brand-new website in September - the very one you’re reading this on! PR firm Lexia have done a wonderful job of grabbing attention for Lexonik in the press.
We’re so pleased to have such wonderful partners as we journey forward on our mission of delivering literacy. The old adage rings true: if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.
An adventure in the Middle East
In November, with the support of our aforementioned partners, we journeyed out across oceans to deliver free Professional Development in the Middle East. It started with GL International’s Global Assessment Conference back in October which springboarded us right onto a plane to Dubai in November.
From there, we set about attending the GESS Dubai Education conference, meeting the community and attending some fantastic talks from notable speakers. After that came a full week of delivering Professional Development to schools all over Dubai. It was not a trip for the faint of heart.
The schools we visited included PACE Modern British School Dubai, Wesgreen International School Sharjah, Greenwood International and many more, all of which were very welcoming. We loved that we could put our money where our mouth is by offering free PD to these schools, working with EAL learners and proving our intervention programmes work anywhere in the world.
Lexonik Cloud nine
Product development is a huge part of what we do every year. It’s one thing to stick with what works and expand to reach more teachers and students, but we can’t forget about adding extra value to our services for our current customers. That’s why in 2022 we had 2 major additions to Lexonik Cloud: Tutor Time Activities and Phonics for Secondary.
Tutor Time Activities is an additional resource available to Lexonik Vocabulary customers. It contains 36 weeks of fully resourced vocabulary activities, perfect for tutor times or any gap in your schedule.
Phonics for Secondary is a dedicated professional development course for Lexonik Develop customers. Showing unpatronising techniques and activities to teach secondary students' phonics. We’re aware that since the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of primary learners went on to secondary behind on essential skills. This resource was designed to combat that, getting learners caught up with their phonics quickly and efficiently.
We’re looking forward to adding even more resources and developments to our products and services in 2023. We know that as effective as Lexonik programmes are, there is always room for improvements, and we promise we won’t get complacent in our mission to get learners literate.
We’re a proud part of the education community and are very keen to meet with said community as often as we can. We must stay abreast of the important issues in our community and meet with real educators' face to face to understand their concerns. That way, we know what we can do to provide schools, trusts, educators and learners alike some much-needed peace of mind.
To that end it was a busy year for Lexonik attending various education conferences up and down the country and beyond. We’ve already mentioned the GL International conference and the GESS Dubai conference which were joys to attend. But we were also lucky enough to attend the Headteacher Chat conference in Nottingham and the Evaluate Ed conference in Manchester.
The miles travelled and the people met were an amazingly worthwhile experience for us. After so long in various lockdowns over the course of the pandemic, it was gratifying to meet the people we try so hard to help and engage with new ideas in our community in a tangible way. It’s something we may have all taken for granted before, but now we’re looking forward to even more in the new year.
Staff get together
This may seem a bit of a self-indulgent inclusion, as many of you reading this see your colleagues every day at work, and many may have just had a staff Christmas party, but the nature of Lexonik means that an event where all of us are in the same room is truly rare.
This is down to the teacher training element of our business. As said, we believe in the teach a man to fish philosophy, we don’t simply implement our literacy intervention programmes and leave, we instead teach the educators to implement them. Because of this our regional trainers are scattered all around the country, putting in the hard miles to train teachers from Shetland to Penzance.
So, in October, when we had everyone at headquarters for 2 days, it was a special time for Lexonik. We bonded over dinner and axe throwing, all while reminding each other why we do what we do. The team is made up of former educators and current idealists all with the common goal of spreading literacy far and wide. We hope in 2023 we can do that even more effectively.
From everyone here at Lexonik, we wish you and yours a Happy New Year. If one of your resolutions is to improve literacy in your school, we can help. Check out our literacy programmes here or contact us here.