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Supporting the young minds of today, to help prepare them for tomorrow

Cabot Primary School is a thriving and successful school in the centre of St Paul’s, Bristol. They serve a diverse community with nearly 90% of their pupils speaking English as an additional language.

Ablaze introduced National Friendly to Cabot Primary School in February 2017, as the school needed help to raise the literacy attainment levels of pupils struggling with their learning/reading.

As part of Ablaze’s Reading Buddy Programme, every week, six of our staff members visit Cabot Primary School during the staff’s lunch hour to read with the children.

Sally Ridley, Primary Partnership Manager at Ablaze said, “Literacy has been the main focus of our primary school interventions. With ever increasing class sizes, working parents and pupils from multi-ethnic backgrounds with English as an additional language, many children are not getting enough one-to-one opportunities to practice their reading and can consequently fall behind.”

The Reading Buddy Programme is intended to increase the amount of reading out loud opportunities the pupils have, inspire them to read more and encourage them to gain a love of books.

Neil Thompson, a Reading Buddy volunteer said, “I love doing helpful things outside of work. We have so many rules to our language, I think it’s amazing that anyone learns to read, let alone a child for whom English is not their first language!”

Gemma Davies, the Reading Recovery Teacher at Cabot Primary School, said, “The children enjoy and benefit from the time and attention their Reading Buddies give to them. The added benefit of having a Reading Buddy for these pupils is that it raises their self-esteem.”

Lucy Skone, who is the newest Reading Buddy volunteer, said, “I struggled a lot with reading and spelling when I was in primary school, so I know how frustrating it can be as a child who is maybe lagging behind their peers and is desperate to move forward.”

“I eventually got some help through my school and now I’ve made a career out of my reading and writing abilities - something that would have been impossible without the extra tuition I received through my own primary school. Being able to give these children the same support and see their love for books grow week on week is incredibly rewarding and I genuinely look forward to every Monday because of it.”

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