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JAGS celebrates 25 years of Saturday Literacy Scheme

JAGS has been working with the Southwark Community Education Charity (SCEC) for 25 years to help ensure children from across the London Borough of Southwark and surrounding areas have the best possible chance of reaching their full potential. 

What is the Saturday Literacy Scheme (SLS)? 

SLS aims to help Year 3 pupils with their literacy by offering the benefits of small-group teaching in a relaxed, friendly and fun environment. Since 1997, around 1,000 pupils have developed their reading, writing and public speaking skills through the initiative.

Each child receives individual support from a personal mentor – who is a senior JAGS pupil – as well as from SCEC volunteer tutors.

It is hoped that the imaginative regular classes aid pupils in developing a habit of reading for enjoyment, as well as a wider vocabulary and that all important confidence when speaking in public.

Elizabeth, Year 10 pupil & SCEC volunteer: “I have really enjoyed being able to help young children find their love for books and spark their imagination, whether it is by creating our own fairy tales, acting out scenes from their favourite books or making finger puppets. It has been wonderful to see how they have all engaged with us so enthusiastically from the start. It was truly rewarding to see their literacy skills develop and improve as they became more confident week after week and seeing them take great pride in speaking to an audience.”

Rhonda Qually, SCEC Tutor: “I feel very fortunate to be part of the SCEC Literacy tutor team at JAGS. Although we are teaching English reading, writing and presenting skills to Year 3 pupils within the local community, it is so much more than just a Saturday school. We understand the importance of literacy as a life skill and the impact that this can have on the confidence of these pupils. We therefore spend a lot of time on confidence building and focusing on the well-being element of learning. Watching the pupils perform to their families every few weeks is such a highlight as you can see how proud they are of their work. I feel so privileged to part of this wonderful scheme.”

Rhona Muir, JAGS Senior Deputy Head & SCEC Foundation Trustee: “We are so proud to be celebrating a quarter of a century collaborating with SCEC and our primary school partners. Each Saturday session is a joy to take part in – a weekly highlight for volunteers and participating Year 3s alike! It has been our absolute privilege to witness first-hand pupils tackle literacy challenges head on to emerge with greater confidence and a genuine love of reading.”

Suzanne Saullo, Parent of former SLS attendee & SCEC Trustee: “My daughter was invited to join the scheme in 1996. She is 36 years-old and a teacher now! Year after year we see great results as children gain in confidence and improve their reading. The volunteers get as much joy from the one-on-one mentoring as the pupils by seeing how well that child has improved. It’s always been WIN!WIN!”

Southwark Community Education Charity

Founded in 1992 with the aim of preparing Year 6 children from Southwark primary schools for transfer to secondary school, SCEC ran classes at Dulwich College in English, mathematics, science, drama and IT taught by graduate subject specialists with Year 12 and 13 College students assisting as mentors.

Later, SCEC broadened its range of activities by the addition of schemes at JAGS (1997) and Alleyn’s School (1998). The charity currently provides curriculum enrichment classes for 160 motivated and enthusiastic primary school children on 20 Saturday mornings each year.

As well as providing classroom, library, laboratory and studio space, the trio of Dulwich Foundation Schools provide administrative support for SCEC and the 27 participating primary schools. SCEC also receives financial support from charitable trusts and foundations.

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