Extended services news from the Learning Exchange.
News and press releases
Pyramid comes to Bradford
Shy children are to get a confidence boost from new school clubs being set up in Bradford primary schools. A partnership has been set up to run the pilot Pyramid Clubs for twenty Year 3 pupils who have been assessed as being shy, quiet and withdrawn. If the ten-week clubs prove to be successful, they could be rolled out in other schools across the district.
The scheme is being supported with a £10,000 start-up grant from Santander, which has offices in Bradford, and the money has been used to train Council and school staff involved in the programme. Find out more about the project.
The impact of pupil behaviour and wellbeing on educational outcomes
This new report carried out by the Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre shows that emotional and social well-being can lead to higher levels of academic achievement.
See our Pyramid webpages for more about supporting children's emotional and social well-being.
Rising numbers of children are going to school hungry (16.10.12)
Four in five teachers (79%) claim their pupils are turning up for lessons hungry, with more than half (55%) saying the numbers have increased in the past year.
The report, by Opinion Matters for cereal maker Kellogg's, says 13% of primary school teachers apparently spend up to £24.99 a month feeding youngsters.
It warns that arriving for school hungry can impair a child's concentration, cause behavioural problems and affect learning.
The report suggests breakfast clubs are a cost-effective way to ensure children eat before lessons. However, many clubs in schools across England have closed in the past year due to a shortage of funds.
Karin Woodley, ContinYou's CEO, said:
'Many families are really struggling financially and, in extreme cases, this means that there simply isn't enough food to go round. Breakfast clubs can provide a lifeline for these families, so we're extremely concerned to hear that many are being forced to close.'
- The Opinion Matters survey for Kellogg's questioned 500 teachers between August 7 and 21. Read more about the report on the BBC website or on Sky News.
- Visit www.giveachildabreakfast.co.uk to find out about Kellogg's latest breakfast campaign.
- Email email@example.com to find out more about how ContinYou supports breakfast clubs.
- Listen to Karin Woodley speaking about the implications of the report in a radio interview for UCB: www.ucbmedia.co.uk (17.10.12). (Note that this wav file may take some time to load.)
Building confidence, developing friendships (12.10.2012)
'Before I had no friends ... Now I have more friends ... I wouldn't talk at the start of the year, and now I'm here on the radio', said 11 year old Ellen Cooper from Lancashire.
Making friends and gaining confidence are two of the key benefits of attending a Pyramid club, explained Bronach Hughes of ContinYou, speaking to Jenni Murray on BBC 4 Woman's Hour. Pyramid clubs were developed in the 1970s to help shy, withdrawn and anxious pupils - the very children who are often overlooked in a busy classroom situation. Small groups of carefully selected pupils are invited to take part in Pyramid clubs, which are usually run after school and led by trained leaders. The clubs offer a wide range of fun learning activities, which help pupils to develop their communication skills, confidence and self-esteem.
Dr Lucy Willetts of Reading University and the Berkshire Child Anxiety Clinic described how shyness can have a major impact on a child's life, causing them to avoid a wide range of social activities and making them feel socially isolated. There are, though, a number of things parents can do to support their children, Dr Willetts explained, for example: encourage them to engage in a wide range of social situations; talk to them, to find out what they find difficult about social situations; and be a good role model in everyday social situations (eg chat to other parents at the school gate).
- Pyramid is an early intervention for quiet, shy, withdrawn or anxious children. The screening process is usually done by a teacher using the Department of Health’s recommended Goodman’s Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).
- Pyramid clubs currently operate in over 40 local authority areas across the UK. ContinYou staff offer ongoing support, including: training and resources; networking with other Pyramid projects; regional meetings; members-only webpages.
- There is a wealth of evidence that Pyramid clubs are effective. Copies of external research are available on request.
- To find out more about Pyramid: visit www.continyou.org.uk/pyramid; call 07817 386 325; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breakfast clubs in the news
First it was school dinners. Now it's breakfast clubs. Read about why food is back on the frontline of the education battleground in Observer Food Monthly (16/9/12). According to an article in the Observer on Sunday (16/9/12), school budget cuts spell hunger for many pupils as crucialbreakfast clubs shut down. Poor children may be left too hungry to concentrate on lessons, experts and campaigners warn.
A helping hand for the quiet ones
Pyramid clubs are giving shy children an after-school lifeline. As an article in the Independent (13/9/12) reports, the clubs help anxious and awkward children make friends and communicate.
A record 18,235 children from 412 schools took part in the national competition, which aims to teach children more about berries as part of a healthy breakfast. School engagement in the initiative, created by British Summer Fruits and run in partnership with ContinYou, has increased ten-fold since it started. Find out who the 2012 winners are!
The Guardian highlights growing demand for breakfast clubs (19/6/12)
According to the Guardian article, teachers are seeing 'growing demand for free breakfasts and rising numbers of underweight, lethargic pupils with signs of hunger'.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast (21/6/12), ContinYou's Chief Executive, Karin Woodley, highlighted the importance of breakfast in improving children's concentration, behaviour and readiness to learn – thereby helping to raise their attainment. She reported how ContinYou, with support from Kellogg's, has helped to provide over two million breakfasts to children, as well as supporting breakfast clubs across the UK.
Researchers at the University of West London, in partnership with ContinYou, have shown that Pyramid after-school clubs deliver significant reductions in peer and emotional difficulties for quiet and withdrawn children.
The Berries for Breakfast competition is open to all schools in the UK, and competition organisers are calling on breakfast clubs from across the country to take part.
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