15th October 2015

Get Medway Learning is a new initiative which aims to raise the bar in local primary and secondary schools, ensuring children are receiving a quality education and achieving to the very best of their ability.

The scheme, led by Medway Council in partnership with children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, will need head teachers, teachers, governors, parents and children to all be on board to make a real difference.

And it is hoped that over the next few years, clear progress will have been made as a result.

Get Medway Learning brings together many strands which contribute to improving learning in Medway Schools. It will be:

• Ramping up our recruitment of good and outstanding teachers and ensuring those currently in post are up to the job, delivering effective and engaging lessons.
• Encouraging deputy head teachers from already high achieving schools in London to step up into head teacher roles here in Medway, to drive improvement and raise standards.
• Promoting the role of school governors and trying to encourage more members of the community to take a more active interest in their local primary school.
• Encouraging local people, universities and businesses to pledge to become a volunteer reader at their local primary school.
• Sending more reading volunteers into schools and highlighting the importance of parents taking the time to read with their children at home – support by national reading charity Beanstalk.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “This campaign is set to be a spring board for improvement and progress for our schools here in Medway, particularly in our primary schools.

“While we have some excellent schools in the area, some are not performing to the expected standard and while they are working hard to improve, some are not making progress quickly enough.

“I am excited about this rigorous initiative to drive progress, however the campaign won’t succeed unless we have teachers, governors, parents and children fully on board – only then can we make a real difference.

“This is an energetic programme focussed on sustainable improvement with the aim of seeing progress over the coming years, and we need to drive up standards, give children quality education and enable them to achieve to the very best of their ability.”

Area Manager for Beanstalk Malou Bengtsson-Wheeler said: “’We are delighted to be a part of Get Medway Learning as we know the one-to-one support our volunteers provide can make a huge difference to children who are falling behind with their reading.

“Becoming a Beanstalk reading helper is a great way to give something back to the community and transform the lives of local children. One-to-one support will not only help improve the reading of the children, it also builds their confidence and allows volunteers to develop new skills themselves – and it is great fun.”

Beanstalk are always looking for more reading volunteers. For more information about becoming a volunteer visit www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 01622 662026.

Alternatively, meet a Beanstalk representative and ask questions about volunteering at the following Medway venues between 9am and 5pm:

Tuesday, 3 November – Dockside Outlet Centre, Chatham
Monday, 9 November – Medway Park, Gillingham
Tuesday, 17 November – Asda, Chatham

Notes to editors

  1. Beanstalk is a national literacy charity that recruits, vets, trains and supports volunteers to work in primary schools with children who have fallen behind with their reading. To find out how to volunteer, visit  www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk or call 020 7729 4087
  2. Beanstalk reading helpers work with children on a one-to-one basis, giving them their full attention and support to improve reading levels, increase overall confidence and inspire a lifelong love of reading.
  3. Each Beanstalk reading helper works with three children and sees each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for a whole year. Together, they read, play and talk. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoying reading is often transformed.
  4. Beanstalk works in areas of deprivation across England through 17 branches in the North, Midlands, Greater London and Kent.
  5. Beanstalk was founded in 1973 as Volunteer Reading Help by Susan Belgrave MBE, Beanstalk’s President.