September 25, 2008

Reading Scheme is Right Way to Boost School Links

Firms were today urged to throw their weight behind schools initiatives designed to put the polish on the "workers of tomorrow".

The Lincolnshire & Rutland Education Business Partnership is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Partners in Reading programme and hopes that more firms will release staff to take part in future programmes.

And 20 county primary schools - including Ling Moor, North Hykeham, South Hykeham School and Witham St Hughs Primary - are also chasing the Go4itAward, with the help of firms.

It aims to encourage youngsters to become more creative, innovative and adventurous, as part of the drive to equip them for the challenges of the workplace.

The EBP said the reading programme has benefited from the support of Business in the Community (BITC) and county council backing.

This has allowed it to be run in eight primary schools - benefiting 80 youngsters over the past academic year.

EBP education business adviser Sarah Hastings said: "With the continued support from BITC, funding from the county council's children's services and a commitment from local employers, we would like to think that many more children can benefit from reading partnerships,"

Bishop King Primary School teacher Mike Catterson said: "For 12 weeks, two business partners - Lizzy Sumner from the Bishop Grosseteste University College and George Dickinson from Simons - each worked with four children once a week.

"It was the first time we had got involved. We had not heard of it before but the children made great strides forwards. Students need to achieve level four maths, English and science before going to secondary school. We were worried they might not, but most did. This scheme is the best thing since sliced bread,"

Bishop Grosseteste schools and colleges liaison officer Lizzy Sumner said: "I am a qualified primary teacher and this was an opportunity to dip into that sector.

"I worked with children aged 10 and 11. I believed it gave them more confidence in their reading and in other areas, because we talked about lots of other things."

Miss Hastings (EBP) said only 40 schools nationally are taking part in the Go4ItAward programme and it is fantastic that 20 of them are from Lincolnshire.

The award is initiative by HTI, a not-for-profit social enterprise which is working with education leaders, firms and the Government to enhance the leadership and employability of young people.

Miss Hastings said the idea is ensure that when young people leave school, they will be ready to accept a challenge and take on responsibility.

But she said schools need companies to help them, financially, or in terms of giving them some time or sharing their expertise.

Companies involved said Go4It can help with the personal development of their staff.

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