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Primary School Volunteers read all about it at Benton Park

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Primary Pilot LogosVolunteers from the Civil Service went back to school earlier this month for a celebration assembly to recognise their efforts as part of a pilot Primary Reading Scheme. The scheme at Benton Park Primary School has enabled foundation stage learners (aged 4-6) to read aloud to Civil Service volunteers over weekly sessions and for Nursery stage learners(aged 3-4) to hear stories read to them.

When the Ouseburn Learning Trust made contact with us to look at the potential of developing a Volunteer Primary Reading Scheme in the Summer Term, we were absolutely delighted because this is exactly the kind of partnership we are looking to develop within the local community.  Our Civil Servants have thoroughly enjoyed mentoring pupils at Benton Park through the reading scheme.   Alice Witherow, Headteacher at Benton Park Primary, said,

Primary Reading Project Volunteerst Photo
From left to right – Miss Alice Witherow, Headteacher, and volunteers from Civil Service Local are pictured with pupils from Benton Park Primary

A love of books and reading is integral to school life here at Benton Park. To have volunteers from the Civil Service come into school to reinforce that message in our classrooms has been greatly appreciated by our pupils.  We are incredibly grateful to all the Civil Service volunteers who have taken time out from their work to listen to our children read.   It was a real pleasure for us as a school to welcome the volunteers back to school for a celebration assembly to not only recognise their efforts,  but also Mrs Pennington who has done such a marvellous job of co-ordinating the scheme here in School.

We hope to extend the partnership further with Ouseburn Learning Trust into the Autumn Term.  If you have already expressed interest in being part of this programme we will be in touch with you soon. If you would like to volunteer please email Anne Hunter.


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  1. Comment by Nicola posted on

    Are we going to roll this out to the rest of the country? All schools are in need of volunteers to listen to children read.

    • Replies to Nicola>

      Comment by Michele Crawford posted on

      We are working with primary schools in a variety of ways across the country, including through reading programmes and sessions focussed on the world of work and will develop programmes where there is demand and civil servants who can volunteer. If you would like to find out what is happening in your local area please get in touch.

  2. Comment by Elaine Collins posted on

    I thoroughly enjoyed working in Benton Park Primary School and would certainly look forward to being a part of the Project again . The children were lovely and you could see the improvement and confidence growing each week as they became used to our visits. It was a very worthwhile positive experience for both myself and the pupils involved .

  3. Comment by G.C posted on

    It was lovely to be part of this scheme and I would recommend it to others who are interested.