Literacy support needed to get Haringey children back on track

As schools start the new year teachers across the borough will be feeling the impact of school building closures from over the past year. A Haringey Council report from April 2021 highlighted that young people’s learning loss figures show that Haringey’s pupils are some of the worst hit in London.1  

Literacy rates for children starting school at the critical transition moment into secondary schools, and for school leavers too, are dropping with less than 50% of Tottenham and Northumberland Park 16-year-olds achieving a good pass at GCSE in English. Literacy has long been understood to be critical to children’s success at school, at all levels and in all subjects.  

Literacy Pirates is working with local schools in and around Tottenham and Bruce Grove to address the problem. 120 children aged 9 to 12 years old are receiving unprecedented catch-up support through their after-school literacy programme. In a pirate-themed learning centre in Tottenham they use volunteers working with their teachers to create a joyful experience of reading and writing, to improve skills and put the joy back into reading.  

There is a real and growing need for programmes that address the learning loss caused by the pandemic. Literacy Pirates needs residents’ support to operate successfully, as they need more local volunteers. Volunteers need no prior experience and act as reading and writing buddies and relatable role models. Literacy Pirates trains volunteers and supports them throughout each session.  

CEO of the Literacy Pirates, Jude Williams said: “Volunteers are critical to our success. Like all volunteering, it’s two ways. The children get the one-to-one support to practice their reading and writing. The volunteers get to meet incredible children, have fun and often feel inspired to do their own creative writing!” 

To find out how you can support Haringey children, visit the Literacy Pirates website: www.literacypirates.org/volunteer  

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