SOME of the North-East's most disadvantaged pupils could benefit from the launch of special summer schools – if organisers can raise enough funds for the project.

A partnership between education programme Lexonik and Teesside University will result in the launch of summer schools for up to 200 secondary school pupils across the region.

The schools will focus on literacy, numeracy, sport, art, life skills and wellbeing, helping to raise aspirations in education and employment.

Also partnering in the project will be charitable movement Teesside Philanthropic Foundation and Game of Actual Life (GOAL), a North-East community interest company that specialises in providing life skills for children in health, wealth and happiness.

Over the past six years, more than 1,000 Lexonik-trained teachers have delivered literacy programmes to over 50,000 pupils in 700 UK schools, whilst the programme has been exported to the USA and the Middle East.

Now, chief executive Claire Preston and founder director Katy Parkinson are setting their sights on raising literacy levels across the country – and want to start on the company’s Middlesbrough doorstep with the launch of the summer schools.

But first they aim to raise money to fund the summer schools by calling on business and education leaders to run September’s Berlin Marathon – or sponsor those taking part.

Ms Preston will lead several members of the Lexonik team in the 26-mile running challenge, while Mark Simpson, pro-vice chancellor of Teesside University, will join them on the starting line.

She said: “Summer schools are so important in exposing our young people to new activities and experiences. We all know that many students are often at a loss as to how to spend the summer school holiday productively while holiday hunger is also a very real issue for some.

“Our aim is to provide as many students as possible with a fully funded opportunity to learn, engage, meet new people and raise their aspirations with regards to future learning and employment.

“Our vision is to raise literacy skills and therefore life chances. The team at Lexonik are incredibly passionate about supporting learners who are disadvantaged through poverty, an issue which often leads to reduced life opportunities."

Mr Simpson added: “Life chances are shaped by education and learning. To support this initiative, that will transform lives of people across our region, is an absolute pleasure and I am looking forward to raising funds to enable us to realise our ambition.”

  • Anyone interested in sponsoring the runners should email