READING and writing is as easy as scoring a try as Toothill pupils found out this week thanks to an unusual literacy programme.

Students at Oliver Tomkins Junior School enjoyed their last session of ‘Stickability’ on Monday, after five weeks on the scheme.

The programme, run by Bath Rugby Foundation, is based on a fun sticker-reward system and delivered through a combination of classroom-based literacy lessons and active tag rugby sessions.

The aim is to give young people aged nine and ten the opportunities and support to develop learning skills and confidence and to have fun in the process.

Vicky Heslop, Bath Rugby Foundation Education Manager, said: “We are delighted to have proven so far that the programme really works.

“We have found that it boosts children’s confidence, particularly for those who start off with the lowest levels.

“We reinforce five core learning skills with praise and a special sticker system through classroom-based literacy sessions which are linked into active sport sessions. The five core learning skills are: individual problem solving; perseverance; emotional resilience; empathy and teamwork. They are all key to lifelong success in learning and work.”

Under the pilot, pupils received two hour sessions each week for six weeks.

In the first hour they worked to develop their writing skills in the classroom, This was followed by a fun hour of tag rugby in the second hour.

The scheme, sponsored by Trowbridge-based company The Consortium, has been running in schools throughout the South West for the last year. Oliver Tomkins was the first school to sign up to the programme in Swindon.

The Consortium and Connect Group’s head office staff in Swindon have provided around 400 hours of support during the scheme’s first year.

Laura Morris, Group communications executive, who gave up her time to mentor pupils said: “It’s clear that the scheme has a positive impact on the children’s learning abilities, as well as their confidence in the classroom.

“I’ve enjoyed taking part in the activities too.”

Julie Warburton, Junior School deputy head teacher said: “ The children really enjoyed participating in the programme and they looked forward to it every week.

“It helped them continue to develop skills we work on with them; it’s skills they will need for the future like focusing and perseverance.

They worked on a literacy activity for the first hour. For instance they watched a rugby highlight and were asked to describe what they had seen and convey their excitement into their writing.

“They would then apply some of the skills like teamwork when they played tag rugby.”