7,000 volunteering hours spent helping children become more confident readers across England every week

“Outstanding leaders at Duke of York’s Royal Military School

Leaders and managers at the Duke of York’s Royal Military School have been ranked as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted during a recent routine inspection of Education, and Boarding and Welfare. In a letter to the school’s Principal

Over 7,000 hours are volunteered every week to help children become confident and able readers across primary schools and early years settings in England, according to children's reading charity Beanstalk. The organisation trains and supports reading helpers to provide one-to-one

support to children aged 3 to 13 in a variety of ways, turning them into confident, passionate and able readers. In the last school year, the charity helped over 11,000 children across England, in over 1,400 schools, with the help of over 3,000 reading helpers, ensuring children have the skills and confidence to reach their true potential. Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive Officer at Beanstalk, says: "Reading is a

fundamental skill in early education and, once grasped, provides a springboard to new opportunities and possibilities. By working with children who have either fallen behind with their reading, lack confidence, or struggle with their fluency or comprehension, our reading helpers can make a significant difference to their future prospects. This Volunteer's Week we want to highlight the valuable hours spent by our trained reading helpers who help deliver Beanstalk's reading programmes in a range of educational settings across England. The work our reading helpers do makes a meaningful difference to children across the country - thank you to all our volunteers and supporters!"

Alex Foreman, inspectors said: “Supported by a talented and enthusiastic group of senior and middle leaders, you have made high- quality teaching and learning your key priority, raising teachers’ aspirations of what pupils can do and achieve.” Alex Foreman, who became the

school’s Principal 18 months ago, said: “It is very rewarding for inspectors to recognise the substantial work we have undertaken to uplift the school’s culture and its approach to learning. We are well on the way to achieving further positive results and I’d like to thank everyone at the school for embracing our vision for future success. “Not only are our staff outstanding but our students are impressive as our

military ethos ensures they are equipped with qualities such as leadership, character and resilience to approach the world with courage and positivity.” In recent years, the school has benefitted from a £24.9 million

refurbishment which has included a new sports centre, high-quality accommodation, teaching blocks and a performing arts centre.

Focus-Trust celebrates music with whole-trust Music Festival

Children and staff from fifteen academies within Focus-Trust - a charitable primary multi- academy trust based in the North West of England - have participated in a Music Festival in celebration of music designed to showcase the musical talents of their pupils and encourage further interest in the arts. Led by the Head of Music at Thornhill Junior

and Infant School, Peter Simons, the Music Festival brought together children from fifteen Focus-Trust academies to perform a choir or instrumental piece at the Sheridan Suite in Manchester. Over 380 children in total performed songs

including I’m Still Standing by Elton John, Hound Dog by Elvis Presley and The Tide is High by Blondie, with Thornhill’s ‘Rock School’ band acting as the backing music for the event.

The Rock School band also performed A

Voice We All Share - written by Peter Simons about the core values of the Focus-Trust; fair, care, share and dare. Music and creative subjects are high on the

agenda for Thornhill, which incorporates both singing and instrument lessons such as the recorder and the ukulele into its curriculum, providing each pupil with at least one hour of music lessons each week. The Focus-Trust CEO, Helen Rowland, said:

“Lost in the debate around SATs and performance tables is the importance of a child’s social, emotional and mental health development. “Here at Focus-Trust we believe that music

and the arts can help children to develop a wide range of skills that will be useful to them

4 June 2018

in later life, notably collaboration, creativity, self-expression and control, which is why we encourage a broad and balanced curriculum in all of our academies.”

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