Coram Beanstalk is calling for volunteers in Birmingham and Wolverhampton to come forward this summer to train as reading helpers with the charity and support local primary school children with their reading from next term. Schools in these cities have a particularly high demand for reading helpers with many children waiting to receive vital support to not only boost their reading confidence and attainment but also inspire a love of reading.
In the wake of the disruption to children’s education caused by the pandemic, recent research by the Education Policy Institute found that children in the Midlands suffered greater learning losses than those living in other regions. With news that this year’s SATs results have slumped, as well as the projected summer learning loss that disproportionately affects children from disadvantaged households, Coram Beanstalk volunteer reading helpers will play a crucial role in re-engaging children in the autumn term.
New volunteers in Birmingham and Wolverhampton can begin training anytime during the year, and those able to start now can join training in August or September to be ready to start working with children as they begin the new school year.
Amy Lewis, Head of Coram Beanstalk, said: “Our volunteers are the face and heart of Coram Beanstalk, we really value the time they give to the children we exist to help. We love to hear of the fun they have in school and are delighted that 98% of our volunteers would recommend us to a friend. If you're thinking of joining us, go for it!"
Local schools that partner with Coram Beanstalk are also clear about the benefits volunteers bring. Teachers at Claregate Primary School in Wolverhampton highlighted the progress made by a Year 6 child who was reading at below the expected level. After engaging with a Coram Beanstalk volunteer, the child is now reading at the expected level and is on track to achieve his SATs next year.
For Coram Beanstalk volunteers, one of the most rewarding aspects is the rapport they develop with the children. The one-to-one relationship means that volunteers can really get to know a child and find out which books might spark their interest. Christine Tooth, a volunteer reading helper at Greenholm Primary School in Birmingham, said: "Volunteering is like playing bat and ball; they give me a sense of purpose and well-being which I try to return to them. Seeing children grow in confidence with their reading and personal development is a wonderfully satisfying experience."
From application to introduction to a local school, where a match is waiting, the whole recruitment journey for new volunteers is currently averaging 30 days from application to completing training and DBS checks. For more information on becoming a volunteer, visit beanstalkcharity.org.uk.