Abtran lends a hand as their employees head into schools for a Literacy Support Programme in Sunday’s Well, writes Niall Murray, Education Correspondent
Granny was knitting some knickers.
Development projects shown to have significant benefits
Niall Murray, Education Correspondent
Projects like the one used at Sunday’s Well Boys NS on the northside of Cork City are shown to have significant impacts.
Suas Educational Development had similar work evaluated at six schools, including one second-level school, in 2013. This found that reading ages increased by over five months for participants in all projects over the four to five weeks that they took place.
With research to show that children in schools in disadvantaged communities are three times more likely than others to have serious difficulties with reading, Suas programmes work specifically with such schools.
David Cashman, principal of Sunday’s Well Boys NS, said the school benefits from some extra supports from the Department of Education from its placement in the second band of its DEIS programme. But while this allows them offer programmes like Maths Recovery and Literacy Lift Off, they do not get the same increased staffing that those in DEIS Band 1 classes have to help provide smaller class sizes.
“We have a fantastic team here committed to teaching children with a range of abilities and using different methods. And it’s great that Abtran would release staff for such an important project like this,” he said.
Niamh McAuliffe, a HR lead for the call centre firm which operates at three locations around Cork City, said Abtran sees the pupils that staff work with as its potential future employees.
“The mentors in the first few schools came back and told others how much they enjoyed it, it’s close to many of their hearts because some are going into their old schools,” she said.
Last year, 200 children aged eight to 14 at 10 DEIS schools in Cork City and suburbs were helped by mentors from Abtran, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and the social and health education project, SHEP based in Ballincollig.
For Suas project manager in Cork, Aoife Collins, the work is not just in training the mentors.
“We have lots of schools who want to sign up so we’re constantly looking for new organisations to come on board who can give a little something back in their communities,” she said.
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