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Friday, 29 May 2015

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Barrow MP announces free summer school

PREPARATIONS are gearing up for a free summer camp in Barrow that will help 50 Furness schoolchildren.

It is being organised by MP John Woodcock who has joined forces with Barrow AFC legend Neil Doherty and former Newbarns Primary head teacher Jill Byrne – who steered the school to four consecutive outstanding Ofsted inspections.

The camp – for Year 5 pupils – will run from August 4 to August 22 at Furness College and it is designed as a fun package of projects to develop confidence and improve numeracy and literacy skills alongside promoting healthy lifestyles.

The initiative has its foundations in alarming statistics that emerged from work carried out by the Furness Poverty Commission. The commission, which was set in motion by Mr Woodcock in winter 2012, published a report last April showing 3,000 Furness children to be living below the breadline.

Earlier this month Cumbria County Council said Barrow has the highest levels of child poverty in the county, with 22 per cent of children living in deprivation compared to the Cumbrian average of 15 per cent.

Mr Woodcock said: “Only by breaking the cycle of under-achievement and low aspiration can we tackle child poverty in the long term.

“I am so grateful to Neil and Jill for climbing aboard this exciting project. It is being designed to complement the good work being done in schools to help personal development and drive up literacy and numeracy standards among children who stand to gain most from the experience. It will also be a lot of fun.”

To prepare for the camp Mr Woodcock has been working for a teaching assistant qualification. Each Friday he spends three hours with staff and pupils at Victoria Junior School in Barrow, while also carrying out a teaching placement in London during the week.

Mr Woodcock added: “Teaching will be in small groups and have more opportunities for one-on-one help, making sure children’s individual needs can be addressed. We will focus on the development of the whole person and through team-building games and outdoor adventures we will promote the social and emotional development of the children.

“The response so far has been really encouraging. But we still need more help! Whether you’re an individual who can volunteer some time or a business who can sponsor us, we’d love to hear from you.”

The project is a partnership that has been supported by local businesses, councils, agencies and individuals. Companies have given financial assistance and individuals have come forward as volunteers.

Mr Doherty said: “ I am delighted to be involved in the Furness Summer Camp project and I am really looking forward to working with all of the staff and volunteers to make sure this is not only a fun experience but also one in which the children will develop their confidence, skills and aspirations for the future.”

The team will be working closely with schools and details of the recruitment process will be announced in the coming weeks.

Have your say

What a great initiative! Child poverty and a cycle of underachievement play a major role in preventing Furness people from achieving their potential.

Well done to everyone involved in this scheme and let's hope for more similar practical ideas in future.

Posted by Peter Hore on 22 March 2014 at 11:08

I'm impressed and wholly approve of your getting to know about the actual day- to- day reality in education as well as your summer school initiative.
I have been a volunteer at my children school and carried on when they left. Later I worked there as a teaching assistant and although now retired I still do work there as a volunteer. If my experience and willingness could be used in the scheme I would like to offer my time.

I think more MPs should do things like that in their constituencies rather than have other, more remunerative jobs out of parliament.

R. Stratton-Brook

Posted by R Stratton-Brook on 21 March 2014 at 14:14

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