No Pens Wednesday 2014 - A big success! - Guest blog post

No Pens Day Wednesday 2014 took place on Wednesday 15th October and was an overwhelming success!

We had over 1,700 schools registered this year, our most popular year yet! This year we have also seen a huge boost in registrations from those working in Early Years settings and special schools, with dedicated resources available for these settings appearing for the first time in No Pens Day 2014. It’s been wonderful that so many new schools and settings have taken part this year and we have been lucky enough to hear about the innovative ways that some of you have used the Trust’s materials.

At Ashton Under Hill School in Worcestershire , pupils were given pictures from the story of The Gingerbread Man to retell the tale orally. They also had the opportunity to make their own salt dough gingerbread men! Students at St Marylebone Bridge School in London took a slightly different route - they were asked to research modern day equivalents of useful historical items such as old maps, candles, film based cameras and even carrier pigeons. Ultimately they concluded that technology is consolidating all the different services we require into smaller packages - nearly all the functions of these items can now be done easily by a smartphone!

We have also heard from many schools who have already identified speech, language and communication as being vital skills within their school development plans and have used No Pens Day as part of their approach. For example, Ormiston Forge Academy used the official No Pens Day Wednesday 2014 date to hold their first SALAD (Speaking and Listening Active Development) day, but they also plan to have at least two more before the academic year is through! It's also great to see other school's putting their own spin on the project, such as Horndean Technology College, who felt that a single day devoted to speech, language and communication was not enough - they needed a whole No Pens Week!

We are also very grateful to those of you that have given us feedback by phone, email and through our online survey. Early indications have been very positive, with over 80% of those surveyed stating that No Pens Day Wednesday has raised awareness of speech, language and communication needs in their school and over 90% stating that as a result of No Pens Day Wednesday they will approach speech, language and communication differently within their schools. 

We’re also delighted that over 50% of schools involved are interested in taking their focus on communication further through the Communication Commitment. The Commitment helps develop a whole school approach to communication, and we’re working closely with Pearson Assessment to develop our exciting site even further in the coming months!

We’re still receiving responses to our survey which is fantastic! We’ve extended the deadline and it’s now open until 1st December, so please do share your thoughts with us if you took part: www.surveymonkey.com/s/nopensdaywednesday2014.

We are offering two £50 vouchers to spend on assessment materials from Pearson’s online shop for two lucky schools or settings who complete the survey in the next two weeks! We are always looking for new ways to improve No Pens Day, so if you do have any feedback/suggestions, be sure to let us know by contacting me on jwilliams@thecommunicationtrust.org.uk.

A big thank you to Jack Williams from The Communication Trust for writing this lovely post on the success of No Pens Day Wednesday.