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A volunteer from Sanctuary Housing reads with a pupil at Kingsmead Primary School

Turning over a new leaf at Reading Partners

A volunteer from Sanctuary Housing reads with a pupil at Kingsmead Primary SchoolInspire!’s Primary Mentoring programme is continuing to thrive, with successful ongoing partnerships formed between schools and employers.

The programme was introduced in 2005 as a way of increasing the confidence and abilities of individual pupils, providing them with one-to-one literacy or numeracy support from a dedicated employee volunteer. Each professional is matched with a pupil at their partner school, working with them on a weekly or fortnightly basis to build an ongoing relationship and provide a positive adult role model.

Leading by example, Inspire! employees have been getting involved themselves by acting as Reading Partners to Our Lady and St Joseph’s Primary School pupils. This year marks the second year of our partnership with the Dalston-based school, with ten staff members now taking part in the programme. Our five Year 6 readers have been selected to take part to boost their comprehensive, interpersonal and communication skills as well as raise their confidence.

The improvements offered by the programme have been noticeable, with one teacher commenting “Oliver has really improved in all areas of reading. This is mainly due to a new confidence which is down to reading different text types with different people.” After taking part in our first Reading Partners programme, an Inspire! volunteer noticed that “Frankie has become more confident in speaking and listening and will ask questions relevant to the topic of conversation. It is great to hear that Frankie has enjoyed these sessions and it is paying off in the classroom.”

A range of businesses have signed up this year to offer their employees as mentors, ranging from City law firms and chartered accountants to a social housing company and business school. Their volunteers have been partnered with children in primary schools across the boroughs of Hackney and Islington.

With class sizes in the UK amongst the biggest in Europe and dwindling numbers of teachers and support staff, it’s increasingly difficult for children to receive the individual support that they need. The borough of Hackney faces lower than average levels of literacy and has a high population of pupils with English as an additional language, which can make learning to read an even greater challenge for children. A mentor can make an immeasurable impact on a child’s progress and confidence in a matter of weeks, just by sparing half an hour of their time.

You can find out more about getting involved in the programme here or contact the Primary team for more information.

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