Your business staff can help primary pupils master reading and easy mental maths before they move into secondary school.

Many primary pupils across Bristol and South Gloucestershire aren’t getting the additional support they need to be able to reach the expected levels for starting secondary school. Pupils receiving the support of an Ablaze business Reading Buddy or Number Partner volunteer not only increase their attainment levels in these areas but also improve their communication skills and their outlook on life. This attention from an adult who isn’t a Teacher or family member has been shown to give children a massive boost to their confidence and self-esteem.

“My confidence has grown since working with the adults – they are friendly and help me learn. I can answer some questions in class now.” St. Mary Redcliff Primary pupil

Why should your business get involved?

Ablaze businesses have reported that becoming a volunteer has helped their staff’s personal development by increasing their skills in negotiation, supervision and communication.  Our team of dedicated business volunteers find their input hugely rewarding and the feeling of satisfaction from the opportunity to take part in this worthwhile community work makes them feel valued – and those additional skills and feeling of reward feed directly back into their work.  Our interventions match many businesses’ CSR remit for improving the lives of children in the more disadvantaged areas of the city by increasing their chances of employment and a better life in the future.

Benefits for volunteers

Volunteering through your business gives staff an opportunity to make a huge difference to a young person’s life. Passing on your knowledge, skills & tips to a primary pupil allows you to give someone else the benefit of your life experience – you will be a positive role model and can have a huge impact on your pupil’s chances in life. The added benefits are being able to take some time away from your desk, meet other colleagues and get the opportunity to provide an enrichment of the pupils’ learning experience.

“I most enjoyed knowing that I am making a difference to young children starting off in life and putting something back into the community. I could clearly see that what I am doing is making a huge difference to them and seeing them improve throughout the school year is pretty inspiring.” DWP volunteer

How it works

If your business would like to partner with a local school by providing Reading Buddy and/or Number Partner volunteers, please get in touch with Sally Ridley, our Primary Partnership Manager. Ablaze will then find a school within a short distance of your office and will manage all the logistics of setting up the intervention, help with recruitment of volunteers & Enhanced DBS clearances and manage the intervention throughout its term.

To find out more, please contact Sally Ridley, Primary Partnership Manager, here.

Reading Buddies

Help make a difference to a child’s chances in life by increasing their literacy levels before they leave primary school.

Reading Buddies aim to encourage primary pupils to read more, read better and be more confident in their ability. Reading Buddy volunteers provide under-performing pupils with extra reading practice in one-to-one reading sessions.

“Ablaze Reading Buddies have raised the profile of reading. The quality time the children spend with an interested adult helps develop a sense of worth, develops confidence and helps to increase reading skills which impacts on the whole of their learning.” St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School

Volunteers are paired with pupils who need extra support and they visit a school weekly, for 30 minutes, for an academic year.

If your business would like to take part in Reading Buddies we would

  • Match you with a school
  • Deliver volunteer training which includes safeguarding guidelines
  • Support with volunteer recruitment and DBS checks
  • Hold regular review meetings with the business & school to make sure all parties are happy with the intervention’s progress
  • Broker and manage the relationship from start to finish
  • Evaluate your impact every year and report back to you

Supporting a pupil while they try to master reading helps to give them the best chance to make the most of their education and go on to succeed in life. The programme gives volunteers a huge sense of reward by seeing their pupil’s confidence with their reading blossom.

“It’s always rewarding to see an improvement in pupil’s reading and a boost in their confidence and self-esteem.” Rolls-Royce

How pupils benefit

  • Improved reading skills
  • Enjoyment of reading and talking about books
  • Improved confidence in their abilities through the informal mentoring an Ablaze Reading Buddy can provide
  • Improved communication skills through one-to-one support from an adult who isn’t a family member or Teacher

“Ablaze business volunteers give the children time with an adult not just to share a book but to discuss vocabulary, explore ideas & predictions and draw on real life experiences. It’s a very special time and all the children who take part from our school look forward to their weekly meet ups.” Blaise Primary School

Ablaze encourages schools to choose the pupils who need extra support the most – this could be because they might not be receiving reading support at home, they have English as an Additional Language, or that they just need additional reading practice so that they don’t slip behind.

Evidence

There is plenty of evidence (link to articles below) which highlights the importance of being a competent reader by the time a child leaves primary school.

Take a look at our evaluation results to see how our work benefits the young people who participate in our programmes.

National Literacy Trust: https://literacytrust.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/read-on-get-on/

The Guardian news article on poor reading in primary: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/sep/08/reading-literacy-uk-cbi-schools-read-on-get-on-campaign

Please contact Sally Ridley to find out how your business could set up a Reading Buddies intervention and the costs involved.

Number Partners

Help bridge the gap in adult numeracy by increasing primary pupils’ speed, agility & confidence with simple ‘mental maths’ calculations through playing targeted number games.

Ablaze are a member of the National Number Partners Consortium and we are the brokers for business volunteer Number Partner interventions in the South West. Please see www.numberpartners.org for further information.

Number Partners aims to increase pupils’ confidence with simple ‘mental maths’ figures through playing targeted number games.

Business volunteers are teamed up with 3 to 4 primary pupils to work in a small group on simple number games.  The business purchases a box of 12 Number Partner games to play at the sessions and the volunteers go into school once a week for approx. 20-30 mins. This small group mentoring increases the pupils’ enjoyment & attainment in numeracy. Schools have reported that when a pupil works with an adult who isn’t their teacher, this support can have a boost on their attitude to learning maths.

“The children really enjoy their Number Partner sessions and always leap out of the classroom with enthusiasm.” St Mary Redcliffe

If your business would like to take part in Number Partners, Ablaze would:

  • Match you with a school
  • Deliver volunteer training which includes safeguarding guidelines
  • Support with volunteer recruitment and DBS checks
  • Hold regular review meetings with the business & school to make sure all parties are happ with the interventions’ progress
  • Broker and manage the intervention from start to finish
  • Evaluate your impact every year and report back to you

A staggering 20% of 11 year old pupils currently leave primary school without the expected level of maths. This figure not surprisingly contributes to approximately 80% of adults in England having a low level of numeracy, with almost 50% of the population believing it’s socially acceptable to be bad at maths.

“Please keep up the good work – it is a fantastic scheme and enables children to have fun with numbers in a safe and supportive environment.” HEFCE volunteer

How pupils benefit

  • Improved mental maths agility with simple figures
  • Increased enjoyment of maths through playing maths games in small groups
  • Boosts confidence in their abilities through this informal, small group mentoring
  • Improved communication & team-working skills through working with an adult who isn’t a family member or Teacher and with pupils not necessarily in their own group of friends

“Meeting with the pupils each week has been great. They look forward to seeing me and playing the games and I’ve seen them improve in social skills, as well as in their maths throughout the time.” Volunteer Number Partner, OVO Energy

Ablaze encourages schools to choose the pupils who need extra support the most – this could be because they might not be receiving maths support at home, they have English as an Additional Language, or that they just need additional number practice so that they don’t fall behind.

Evidence

Take a look at our evaluation results to see how our work benefits the young people who participate in our programmes.

Number Partners:  http://numberpartners.org/

National Numeracy: https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/

UCL and University of Cambridge research into adult financial numeracy: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/news-events/news-pub/mar-2018/england-low-levels-financial-literacy

Please contact Sally Ridley to find out how your business could set up a Number Partner intervention and the costs involved.