HUNDREDS of children at schools run by a York-based academy trust have taken part in a project aimed at boosting literacy outcomes through dance.

A primary school in Tadcaster was one of two Ebor academy schools chosen to take part in the pilot.

Year 4 children at Tadcaster Primary Academy worked alongside their class teacher Warren Parkinson and dance professionals Hannah and Drew Wintie-Hawkins of York Dance Space to express ideas through movement and then use the experience in their descriptive writing.

The project was covered intensively over five afternoon sessions in Tadcaster.

An Ebor school in Hull, Alderman Cogan’s Church of England Primary Academy, spread out their project over five weeks.

Both schools finished their programmes this term.

Called Developing Choreographers of Learning: Improving Literacy Through Dance, the project was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as part of their teacher development programme.

The foundation encourages closer working between education and the arts.

Last year Ebor Academy Trust bid for full funding but were not successful because links with dance organisations had not been tested – but the foundation liked the idea.

Tim Moat, director of communications and development for Ebor, said: “The foundation then gave us a discretionary grant to pilot the scheme, which will put us in a better position when we apply next time.

“Dance is an art form relegated to two sentences in the Primary National Curriculum but we sought to use dance to explode stereotypes and engage pupil and teacher in a co-learning adventure.

“Our project supported teachers to find approaches to learning using kinetic and corporeal cognition – body and mind together – so more senses were at work.

"Non-separation of thinking and doing to channel literacy provided stimulus to tackle problem-solving, recall, analysis, interpretation and creativity.”

A thorough evaluation is now taking place so Ebor can feed back to the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Ebor currently operates 22 schools, which in York includes Robert Wilkinson, Haxby Road, Hob Moor Community Primary Academy, Hob Moor Oaks, Lakeside Primary Academy, Park Grove Primary and Osbaldwick Primary. It also has other schools in Selby, the East Riding and on the Yorkshire Coast. Two more schools in Hessle, Hull, are scheduled to join in July.

Last week Richard Ludlow, Ebor chief executive, was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

As previously reported, Mr Ludlow will retire during the 2019-20 academic year.