Spelling Beats, an innovative new online learning programme which uses gaming elements and allows primary and secondary school children to step into the role of a DJ to learn the rules of spelling, has been made available for free during the Coronavirus crisis thanks to funding from education charity SHINE UK.

Created by teacher Michelle Lockwood, Spelling Beats offers an alternative to traditional home-learning worksheets, combining vibrant high-end graphics with original catchy music tracks in genres including grime, dance, reggae, hip hop, RnB and rock.

The programme – which has been developed and scaled-up by technology firm The Curve – uses the latest developments in artificial intelligence to produce a vast database of words covering the whole primary national curriculum for spelling, plus a wide range of secondary subject specific keywords.

After securing support and funding from the northern education charity SHINE UK, the platform has been made available to schools for free to help support those most vulnerable during the pandemic.

Spelling Beats creator Michelle, said: “I’ve been working to develop this project for the last two years so it’s fantastic to see it go live and I hope it will help engage all children from those being home-schooled to those children of key workers still attending school.

“After working as a teacher in both primary and secondary schools, what is clear is that spelling is often an area of weakness for children, which can lead to them developing confidence issues and difficult attitudes towards writing.

“As this programme has been both teacher and technology led, I hope that this will help shift students’ perceptions and they will no longer see spelling as boring.”

Qualifying schools will receive a free subscription lasting until September, giving their pupils access to the full Spelling Beats programme throughout this time.

Paul Ridgway, CEO of The Curve added: “During these unprecedented times we think it is really important that we can use technology to better connect, better educate and better serve the community.

“This has been an invaluable project to work on and Michelle’s creative input has made it a fun accessible game we hope will be enjoyed by children of all ages.”

Up to 100 schools across the Yorkshire & Humber, North East and North West regions are entitled to apply for a free subscription to Spelling Beats. Schools will need to serve an above-average intake of pupil premium students to be eligible. Teachers should log on to www.spellingbeats.com for details.

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