The Times

“The Spelling Bee is a fantastic competition which benefits our students greatly, bring on next year!”

Teacher, Fulford Secondary School


The Times wanted to generate interest in reading and spelling, especially among young secondary school students. Rapport were charged to create and launch a unique nationwide competition about words to stimulate interest around spelling and the English language. It had to be fun, engaging and educational and potentially become an annual event locked in the schools calendar.


Rapport created the Spelling Bee format as a team-based competition, managing schools liaison, databases, administration protocol and all educational communications. The launch promoted the competition to Headteachers, Heads of English and Year Heads to encourage commitment to the events. Live local heats and Semi- Finals culminating in a prestigious Grand Final, held at a prestigious venue was the approved format.

The agency managed customer service, all events and production processes. Free teaching materials to aid in-class spelling activities and further support the initiative in the classroom were offered to participating teachers. The Spelling Bee website let teachers register students to play the spelling games with teachers able to monitor improved student performances. Rapport worked alongside a leading dictionary publisher about word list selections and with The Times’ PR agency regarding local and national coverage.



The Results

The Spelling Bee became annual after the first year

Numbers of participating schools increased each year as The Spelling Bee became an annual event.

Over 23% all UK secondary schools registered for the event per year

Over 68% of schools using the website for games and performance measurement

Traffic to the Spelling Bee website was in excess of 1,000,000

98% of participating teachers committed to participate the following year

PR generated hundreds of pieces of coverage, local and national, online and offline, newspapers and magazines plus radio and television.


99% of teachers recommended The Spelling Bee to colleagues as a resource to support literacy

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