Beanstalk launches young leadership reading programme in secondary schools to help close the attainment gap 17 September 2018 A leadership programme which partners students with their younger peers is being rolled out to secondary schools across England to help improve reading skills, confidence and enjoyment. Beanstalk is aiming to train more than 3,500 students across the country to become Reading Leaders by the end of the next academic year. The Reading Leaders programme trains students in Years 9 and above to support and encourage younger pupils who are at serious risk of falling behind with their reading. The plan is to reach over 7,000 younger pupils who will benefit from this one-to-one reading support. This year, 25% of primary school children in England began secondary unable to read to the expected level. For these thousands of children, learning across the entire curriculum will be an uphill struggle and a serious impediment to their emotional and social well-being. Beanstalk has been working for over 45 years to recruit and train volunteers to support children on-to-one in primary schools who struggle with reading. The Reading Leaders programme has been developed to continue this vital one-to-one work through into secondary education. The programme not only supports the younger students with their reading but offers older students an excellent opportunity to develop their leadership skills. “At Beanstalk our core programmes typically support children in early years and primary school settings who have fallen behind with reading or are at risk of being left behind. However, we know that literacy problems extend beyond primary school and that children are entering secondary education without the key reading skills they need to become successful learners,” explains Ginny Lunn, Chief Executive Officer at Beanstalk. “Partnering these students with well trained, positive older mentors at the same school can really help boost their learning experiences, improve their love of reading, and ultimately transform their prospects of succeeding in the future. It’s very much a win-win situation; the younger pupils benefit from enhanced reading skills while the older students benefit from a leadership programme that they can use to enrich their own educational experiences.” Reading Leaders training for secondary schools costs £85 per Reading Leader trained (minimum course costs £995). Beanstalk can run the programme in secondary schools (state and private) located anywhere in England. To find out more, teaching and school staff can click here or call Beanstalk on 0845 450 0301.