Northern Education Trust Red House Academy reaches out to the community to join a reading challenge

April 2, 2020

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred
Northern Education Trust

Northern Education Trust Red House Academy reaches out to the community to join a reading challenge

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred
Northern Education Trust

April 2, 2020, 12:47 pm

Northern Education Trust Red House Academy reaches out to the community to join a reading challenge

In the current climate and as we all try to adapt with the way the coronavirus has impacted on our lives, our academies have been giving a lot of thought to how they may be able to help the vulnerable and elderly within our communities.  Northern Education Trust Red House Academy has decided to reach out to local care homes and sheltered housing facilities, in which many elderly and vulnerable people are feeling increasingly isolated due to the social distancing and self-isolation restrictions now in place.

Northern Education Trust recently implemented ‘Reading Routes’ for all its secondary academies.  The programme aims to build a love of reading for leisure and pleasure, widen the cultural experience of students and ultimately broaden their learning beyond the curriculum. Students have embraced the programme as they immerse themselves into a variety of different texts that they previously not have envisaged themselves reading. Whilst helping to improve their confidence and self-esteem through developing their reading skills, Reading Routes has strengthened the school community through the shared experience of reading something that the academies feel could be reciprocated in the wider local area.

As part of the Reading Routes programme, there is a route map, based on the London Tube Map, which consists of 18 different routes (genres), with around 90 books in total along the routes. Each route interconnects and travels through the local area to meet with other Northern Education Trust secondary academies: our route map connects Red House Academy with The Blyth Academy and Thorp Academy, travelling through a range of towns and local landmarks on the way.

Across each half term, students see the launch of a different route genre and are given a book of their choice from the route. Concurrently, staff are also reading a book from each route to further encourage discussions and build a sense of community based around reading.  As a further reward, students are given personalised certificates for every 5 books they read, and each route they complete.  If they achieve a magnificent 10 routes/50 books, they receive a kindle. Currently, there are several students well on course to achieve this in the coming months.

Consequently, senior leaders have approached local care homes to offer a connection to residents, to provide some respite from the isolation they may be feeling, by joining the Reading Routes challenge.  Similar endeavours are occurring in all our academies across the North of England.  We are offering to loan books from the routes to residents, and hope in return they will share their thoughts and feelings about the books by writing a short review, which will then be shared with students in the academies.  We are also hoping that students are able to respond back and hope to establish better links with all members of our community during these unprecedented times.  This is particularly important as it allows valuable opinions from those outside of the academy and will subsequently help students when deciding which book to choose from future routes.

Hijab Zaheer Principal at Red House Academy, said: “We know many of our students, and staff, have elderly relatives or vulnerable family members who are feeling the negative effects of the restrictions now in place.  Although they may be unable to have visits at the moment, we hope that joining our reading challenge will create a sense of connection to the school community, as well as the knowledge that they are helping students make future choices based on their influence. Now more than ever, it is important that we all work collectively and provide the opportunities to show solidarity. Together, through a love of reading, this provides a unique opportunity to further build links and entrench ourselves as a key part of the community which we are proud to be part of.”

 

Red House Academy is a member of the Northern Education Trust.
We constantly focus on standards as we understand outcomes are paramount. Our decision making is driven entirely by what is best for children. By doing this we enhance the life chances of the children and young people in our care.