THRASS UK and Barclays - Teaching New Skills to Thousands of Children in South Africa

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THRASS UK, based in Chester, England, and supported by Barclays, has just entered into a five-year partnership with South Africa's Absa Bank, a member of the Barclays Group, to deliver the TalkTogether Literacy Project in schools and universities across South Africa. The primary aim of the Project is to improve literacy standards across the country, and hundreds of student teachers will be trained in the first year alone in order to achieve this.

THRASS UK, based in Chester, England, and supported by Barclays, has just entered into a five-year partnership with South Africa's Absa Bank, a member of the Barclays Group, to deliver the TalkTogether Literacy Project in schools and universities across South Africa. The primary aim of the Project is to improve literacy standards across the country, and hundreds of student teachers will be trained in the first year alone in order to achieve this.

The THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills) phonics programme is the brainchild of educational psychologist and former teacher Alan Davies, and uses both synthetic and analytic phonics to teach essential spelling and language skills. THRASS is used by over 10,000 schools in Europe and Africa and employs pictures, sounds and keywords to help learners understand the building blocks of language.

The THRASS phonics programme was invented by Alan Davies, who has over 30 years experience within the educational sector and is considered to be the inventor of the "Periodic Table of Phonics", over 20 years ago while teaching his daughter to read. Alan and his wife are passionate about improving educational standards across Europe, Africa and the Americas, and running a successful business has enabled them to make a considerable personal investment in doing this.

Alan Davies, who is Executive Director of THRASS UK said "It may sound complicated but once you open your mind to the new way of teaching, the results are fantastic. Using THRASS in a balanced language curriculum can more than double the normal rate of progress for learning reading and spelling for primary and secondary school children, and also for dyslexics and those for whom English is not their first language. THRASS is the ultimate code-breaker, described by many teachers as 'the key that unlocks the door to our language'. The launch of the TalkTogether Project in South Africa, with the support of Absa, is a massive opportunity for us and demonstrates the additional impact that can be made when large corporate organisations take their social responsibilities seriously and address vital educational issues."

Mark Hemsley, Barclays Local Business Manager said, "As champions of local business, it is essential that we support businesses such as THRASS UK. This is a great example of someone using personal skills and passion to develop a successful international business - and a business that is set to have a big positive impact on the lives of many thousands of children. By using our knowledge and experience within the small business market, Barclays has been able to support THRASS UK from the outset."

Alan Davies concludes, "While running a business has been demanding, it is certainly something that I don't regret. As we look to extend projects similar to the TalkTogether Project to Namibia, Botswana and the Caribbean, the future looks extremely promising. The real key to success is to continue to train more teachers to use the THRASS phonics programme, and the benefits of this will then cascade down to the classroom. The more teachers we train, the more children we can help."

For further information about the THRASS phonics programme, visit the extensive picture-based training website for schools and parents at http://www.thrass.co.uk

For further information about the TalkTogether Literacy Project, visit http://www.talktogether.co.za and http://www.thrass.co.uk/absa_index.htm

For further information please contact: -
Jonathan Brenchley
Head of Community Relations - Wales & West
Barclays Communications
Tel: 02920 892810

Issued by: THRASS UK News Media Centre http://www.thrass.co.uk/nm.htm
Mike Meade, Media Director, THRASS UK, +44 1829 741413 Mob: 07970 151 738
Chris Griffiths, International Development, THRASS UK, +30 266 203 1207

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CHRIS GRIFFITHS
THRASS
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