Updates from the Aldworth Partnership

Since the beginning of the spring term, and the start of the most recent national lockdown, pupils involved with the School’s outreach programme, The Aldworth Partnership, have organised the School community to donate food, stationery and electronic devices to local schools.

During the pandemic, more specifically the periods of home learning, the prefects of the Aldworth Partnership here at Blue Coat put their heads together to respond to the ever-changing needs of those less fortunate than themselves.

To start, pupils began to reach out to the Blue Coat community for contributions of fresh food, vegetables, fruit, tinned foods and snacks on behalf of Share Wokingham’s Food Bank. This came as many local families began to struggle to fee d their children, who were all of a sudden at home more than usual owing to lockdown restrictions. Many schools were not able to make ‘free school meals’ available to their pupils in this period, so the Aldworth Partnership boldly stepped in to help make a difference.

Similarly, pupils campaigned for stationery items, including notebooks, pens and pencils that schools were not able to provide, again due to the pandemic and the restrictions in place. This was also in support of Share Wokingham.

The Aldworth Partnership also supported local primary schools with books to help home learning. Some families do not have enough devices to ensure children can access online libraries, and with physical libraries closed, local primary schools are struggling to keep up with demand of providing books. Our community stepped up and have donated hundreds of books to help with this need. Mrs Jackie Andrews from Highwood Primary School said “we are very grateful to the Reading Blue Coat School community for the amazing number of books that they have donated for our pupils. Reading is a fundamental part of children’s education, broadening vocabulary, improving spelling and encouraging them to use their imaginations, all of which leads to exciting and well-written compositions. Some of our children do not have access to books at home but the donations from Blue Coat are enabling us to provide a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction for them to keep and enjoy at home.  Thank you.”

Further to this, our Aldworth Partnership prefects appealed to the Blue Coat community for electronic devices to assist with pupils’ remote learning. These laptops and desktop computers were kindly received. Aldworth Partnership Prefect Grace Edmondson said “This term, the Aldworth Partnership has once again been faced with the challenge of going online, which has led to lots of great new projects. A highlight of the term was our partnership with Share Wokingham Food Bank, which saw our community donate enormous amounts of food to help support those struggling with the pandemic in the local community. Alongside this, we have been supporting local primary schools with home learning by donating books and second-hand devices. The response we received from the community has once again demonstrated the generosity of the Blue Coat community and we are very thankful to everyone that contributed to these initiatives. In addition to these, we have established a pen-pal scheme with Abbeycrest Care home, whereby some of our students have been writing to the residents in a bid to reduce lockdown loneliness. The letters have been gratefully received by the care home and we hope to continue this partnership once the pandemic is over. Finally, we have been working to improve our community garden, and we have received funding from the Reading Old Blues Association which we are using to invest into some new equipment. ”

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