The reading scheme was originally set up in 2008 by Paul Harvey (our Plymouth based Head of Knowledge and Legal Training) and has been running for ten academic years.
St Peter’s Primary School is tucked away behind Union Street, a five minute walk from the office. In terms of a social journey though it is a lot further – it is situated in a very deprived inner city area of Plymouth, many of the children come from difficult backgrounds and struggle with basic literacy and numeracy skills. The school’s most recent Ofsted Report states a high proportion of pupils are eligible for support from the pupil premium – additional government funding provided for pupils who are eligible for free school meals or who are looked after. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is high, as is the number of pupils who speak English as an additional language.
Womble Bond Dickinson volunteers regularly spend a lunchtime at the school listening to a child read. This provides a continuity of adult
contact and attention that would otherwise be missing for many of the children involved. The feedback from the school is that the children involved have benefited greatly from the scheme. Individual one-to-one adult attention means a lot, especially for those children who have a difficult time outside of school. This is an excellent way to get children excited about reading and forge links in the local community.
The reading scheme recruited four new volunteers this year. Most of the volunteers read with specific children each time they visit so that
there is continuity; it is also a great opportunity to see improvement in the progress of their reading. With the very small children, four and
five year olds, it is a case of sitting in the class and spending time with as many children who want to read. All of the new volunteers find it very rewarding and love the interaction as well as the reading.
“I really appreciate that I am contributing to the education of the children, enriching their experience in school and the success of the school.”
“The teachers are always really welcoming and positive about us being there to read to the children – I think they feel it beneficial. Most of the children I have read to enjoy the time we give them and particularly like talking!”