2023 has flown by. It’s been a busy year to say the least. We saw a new monarch crowned for the first time in over 70 years. Eurovision hosted in Liverpool, where Sweden notched up a record tying 7th win. A thrilling women’s World Cup where the Lionesses came up heartbreakingly short in the final, despite the heroics from Mary Earps. Elton John’s last live performance at Glastonbury and Mo Farrah ran his last race at the Great North Run, an event that two of our own Lexonik team members were also running at; more on that later.
It hints at just how busy a year it’s been for us at Lexonik, with new developments, new faces and scores of schools and students we’ve had the pleasure of helping. It’s been a banner year for us and we can’t wait to share our 2023 year in review.
Soaring Schools and Students
At Lexonik, our bread and butter is helping schools and educators improve literacy outcomes for learners. That’s why we’re starting off with the great news that 158 new schools have taken the leap with Lexonik this year. We now have the pleasure of providing interventions and PD to a jaw-dropping 487 total schools. That’s 284 Lexonik Leap licences and 351 Lexonik Advance licences meaning we’ve outdone ourselves when compared to the 164 Leap and 96 Advance licences we had provided in 2022.
Overall, we have trained 960 educators this year. That’s 960 educators armed with the tools needed to improve reading fluency, phonics, vocabulary and spelling, not just with their cohorts this year, but with cohort after cohort for years to come. We teach the teachers, giving them the infrastructure necessary to improve struggling learners as and when they need to. So, when we see growth like this, we get so excited at the prospect of just how many learners will be gaining better literacy outcomes in their schools, all the way up to their GCSE exams and beyond into their daily lives. We know literacy is an essential skill people use every day, so the positive impact we make on schools, educators and learners this year can carry on well into the future. That’s why it’s one of the most important things we’ve done in 2023.
Adventures Over the Atlantic
We have had great success in our home country of the UK this year, and improving literacy outcomes at home will always be at the very top of our priority list. But literacy is a vital skill worldwide and that’s why this year Lexonik has gone global.
This year we established Lexonik U.S. Inc, our American corporation, which has, in turn, developed our American offering, Lexonik 360. The goal is much the same as it is in the UK: to provide quality literacy interventions, PD and services to improve literacy outcomes for those who really need it.
Lexonik U.S. is its own entity, complete with a brand-new website developed this year, and is already making an impact in schools in Florida and Atlanta. Back in January, Lexonik Director, Lisa Parkinson, and Lexonik Senior Manager, James Ledger, embarked on a journey overseas to the Sunshine State. They weren’t there for the weather though, they instead trained a host of American educators in Lexonik interventions. Lisa recorded a podcast about the experience that you can check out here.
We followed this up throughout the year with four subsequent visits to the land of the free, with UK team members connecting with their U.S. counterparts to train staff and attend events like the PAEC and FloridaLearns Foundation Leadership Conference.
New Year, New Faces
Back in Blighty the changes kept coming; as demand for Lexonik interventions grew, we had to grow alongside it.
This meant 2023 was a year of new recruits and fresh faces, with even more on the way as we speak. But so far, we have added 12 new members of staff to the team over the course of the year.
The lion share of fresh faces have been Regional Trainers with a whopping five new additions. Regional Trainers live and travel up and down the country and live nomadic lives travelling from school to school delivering training in our interventions to educators. This is an essential part of Lexonik, so it’s easy to see why we have expanded that team so much, making it easier for us to reach more schools, deliver more training and make an overall greater impact on learners with literacy.
We have also welcomed three new Account Managers. AMs look after our schools and educators before, during and after they contact Lexonik, handling everything from helping select the right intervention, to booking training and helping with any questions that may come up after training has been delivered. Adding more Account Managers means we can continue to provide stellar customer service, making sure every school has a personal point of contact to resolve any issues they might have.
That’s just scratching the surface of all the amazing newbies that have come to Lexonik this year. We have been so lucky that everyone we have added to the team this year has hit the ground running, with a burning passion for improving literacy outcomes for learners across the UK and beyond.
An Audience with the King
We mentioned at the start of this blog that 2023 is a year that will be remembered for the coronation of a new King. We knew the plans for the coronation going into the year, but what we didn’t know and what we certainly didn’t expect, is that we would be invited to meet him.
Back in July, our CEO Sarah Ledger received an invitation from The Master of The King’s Household, inviting her to a performance and reception at Windsor Castle to celebrate the works of William Shakespeare and hosted by the King and Queen themselves. Imagine the shock and excitement around the office!
When the big day came, Sarah was not just greeted by King Charles and Queen Camilla, but also Helena Bonham Carter, Dame Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave and David Oyelowo, who were all in attendance.
Sarah was thrilled, saying at the time “The evening was magical, awe-inspiring and utterly unforgettable. There were so many well-known actors, actresses, significant business persons, and obviously royalty too. I felt so enormously privileged to be representing a slice of the North East, and to be able to talk to many of the guests about the work we do.”
This is a highlight of not only Lexonik’s 2023 but likely Lexonik’s entire life span. It’s unlikely something this big will ever happen again, but considering we’ve made big enough waves to appear on the King of England’s radar, this was the year we learnt truly to never say never.
The Department for Education and Lexonik
Late last year we announced the sensational news that Lexonik had secured an expected 3-year grant from the Department for Education. We were tasked with providing PD and interventions to post-16 resit learners and practitioners in Further Education. The best part of the grant is that our services are fully funded by the DfE, meaning they are accessible at no cost to the colleges who receive them.
It’s an offer that sounds almost too good to be true, but 13, soon to be 14, colleges can tell you it’s very real. We hope to see that number rise and rise throughout the next two years of delivery. This should be made easier by the development that the offer is now nationwide. We started out delivering the post-16 programme regionally to the North East, Humberside and Yorkshire, which went so well that the DfE decided to expand our scope, so we can help more educators and learners.
English resits at college are often the last chance for many learners to leave education fully literate and with an essential GCSE. We know how important this work is and really value the chance to improve literacy outcomes for learners who need it the most.
Giving Back to Our Community
Charity is one of the defining words of 2023 here at Lexonik. We are proud to have so many people taking up so many causes, all to better the Teesside community we call home.
We established a strong connection with Teesside Hospice this year, becoming the 2023 headline sponsor of the Reindeer Run. Reindeer Runs are a fun way to raise money for charity, where learners in schools are sponsored to don their Christmas best and walk or run a mile for charity. Through our sponsorship, we provided participating schools with a Christmas activity pack and even held our own Reindeer Run in December.
Some staff even performed herculean feats in the name of raising money for charity. This year our Senior Sales Manager, Phil Luke, and Quality Assurance & Delivery Senior Manager, Kate Jones, ran the Great North Run together to raise money for Teesside Hospice. They gave it their all and were right in the thick of it, only tens of miles behind the likes of Mo Farrah. Still, they finished in respectable time and, most importantly, raised hundreds for the hospice in the process.
We didn’t just give to one charity this year though, far from it. In May, one of our Account Managers, Edward Mooney, put his best foot forward in the Butterwick Hospice Corporate Charity Football Match, playing for the Butterwick Blues at the Riverside Stadium, the home of Middlesbrough Football Club.
Over Easter, we coordinated with Commerce House to donate Easter Eggs to the Bloodrun Emergency Vehicle Services. Staff all chipped in to donate a Christmas hamper to the Cause Foundation. We could go on and on about the contributions staff have made to good causes this year, but it’s best to say we’re just incredibly proud for Lexonik to be a cause of positive change in our community and even more proud of the staff who make that a reality.
That’s why, coming into 2024, we’re launching our very own ESV (Employer Supported Volunteering) scheme, where staff will be able to use an allowance of their working hours to do work in the community. It’ll be completely their choice what cause they dedicate their hours to and we can’t wait to see all the wonderful work they do.
Oh My Dubai
It’s been a globe-trotting year for Lexonik, with multiple trips to Dubai and the U.S. Dubai followed a similar trend to our American journey, with multiple visits throughout the year in April, September and October. Each trip involved sessions with international schools and conferences.
On one trip we formed part of a contingent of businesses going on a trade mission with the Department of Business and Trade, in conjunction with the Northern Powerhouse, which of course was a huge honour.
We had the chance to once again attend GESS Dubai and, once again, work with our friends at GL Education in a great session looking at intervention strategies to apply in response to NGRT data.
But at the heart of everything we do is reaching schools and educators to improve literacy outcomes wherever we are in the world. We achieved that in a unique way this year, through a Mass Training Event with the GEMS International School Network. 18 staff from eight different schools attended the event, being trained in Leap and Advance all in one day.
The event was such a hit, we decided to roll them out back home too, holding our first event in November of this year at Bramall Lane in Sheffield. It’s an efficient and advantageous way for schools and trusts to get many staff members trained all at once, so we hope in 2024 this continues and allows us to upskill more educators than ever before.
We Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside
As you can see it’s been a busy year for everyone here at Lexonik. We love what we do but it’s important to kickback and unwind from time to time and, come August, our staff had wholeheartedly deserved a break. There’s no such thing as a quiet time at Lexonik, not anymore, but the middle of the six weeks holidays is our quietest and therefore the perfect time to treat the staff to a trip to Whitby.
Everyone met up at the office and embarked for a scenic train ride from Middlesbrough to the famous seaside town. We enjoyed all the usual trappings, a company meal of fish and chips, ice cream in the summer sun and some of the less lethargic members of staff tackled the 199 steps.
Even a last-minute train cancellation on the way home didn’t dampen spirits, a great time was had by all on the bus instead. It’s so important for staff to be able to connect with one another outside of the office. This trip wasn’t a huge grant from the DfE, it wasn’t a global mission to improve literacy worldwide and it certainly wasn’t an audience with the King, but considering all those things, it was a welcome break, where staff were able to relax and enjoy themselves. That alone makes it one of the highlights of the year.
The All New Lexonik Cloud
Lexonik Cloud has always been the hub of our interventions and PD. It’s where all of our PD masterclasses are hosted, where our mighty morphemic analysis machine sits both part of Lexonik Vocabulary Plus and it’s where educators can upload and monitor their student progress data from Lexonik Advance and Leap.
It’s vital to everything we provide and, because of that, we need to ensure it improves in every possible way. That’s why throughout the year we tirelessly worked on developing an all-new Lexonik Cloud, which launched in November.
The New Cloud has an all-new look, but its improvements are much more than skin deep. A new paperless Leap diagnostic provides an easier way for educators to test their learners, Vocabulary lists are shared across organisations as part of Lexonik Vocabulary Plus and data tagging allows you to report on the comparative progress between varying student groups at the click of a button!
There’s literally scores of improvements on the new Cloud. Current customers have already been upgraded to the service and are enjoying all its benefits. That’s one of our biggest goals at Lexonik, providing continued value for our schools. So, it’s great that we can deliver something as big as an entirely new hub platform, ensuring schools and educators always have the best tools available to educate their learners.
The Annual Lexonik Company Meet Up
The nature of our business means we have a lot of remote workers. Our Regional Trainers, as stated, lead nomadic lives travelling from school to school delivering training. Because of this, they are rarely at head office and rarely amongst even each other. We now have an American corporation with American staff members literally oceans away and even those who come into head office do so on hybrid work system. This is why our annual company meet up is so important; it’s the only time of the year every member of staff from wherever they are in the world come together. The only time everyone is in the same room together.
This year was a doozy, a two-day event hosted at Teesside University that consisted of company updates, games and, of course, a fantastic spread of food to enjoy, before we ventured into Middlesbrough in the evening for a sit-down meal at a restaurant.
These two days are some of the most important of the year, a time to bond and connect. Everyone at Lexonik has the same passion and the same fundamental ideal; literacy is a human right, and no one should be limited because they can’t read. Through these meetings, we manage to remind each other why we do what we do, why we show up every day and do our best and why it’s so important that we do so. It’s of course important to stay updated on the company news and what we have planned for the future, but what these events are really about is the connections made with each other that carry us through the year.
That’s just some of the Lexonik highlights from 2023; it’s been a massive year for us. We haven’t even had chance to mention the slew of conferences we’ve attended this year, the launch of our new package Lexonik Vocabulary Plus or our case study with David Didau. But there’s only so much we can cover in one blog, and it just goes to show how packed 2023 has been. We will continue onwards into 2024 with the same goal as always, spreading literacy and PD across the globe and doing our best to ensure that every child can read, spell and write.
It's never too early to start planning for 2024 though. If you and your school want to experience the results that Lexonik can bring, Contact one of our dedicated members of staff here.