A donation from Tata Steel has given 100 foster families in the Neath Port Talbot the opportunity to close the education-attainment gap between looked-after children and their peers through the provision of reading packs.
“Unfortunately it is often the case that looked after children do less well in school, underachieving in relation to their ability” comments Nikki Sneezum Looked After Children's Education Officer in Neath Port Talbot “This can have a negative impact on their life chances and the local education authority are determined to reduce this as much as possible” The Sit Together and Read (STAR) project, established by Nikki aims to reduce the gap between the attainments of looked after children and their peers with training provided for carers, enabling them to work with the young people to develop their skills.
Working with educational advisors and Headteacher of Crynallt Primary school in Cimla, Helen Woodford, a reading pack for foster carers was developed full of ideas, games and tips for encouraging reading at home and thanks to the generosity of Tata Steel each pack also comes with reading books from a range of well-known children’s authors such as David Walliams, Francesca Simon, Julia Donaldson, Michael Morphurgo and the old favourite Roald Dahl.
“The STAR project has been well received, with most commenting on the usefulness of the ideas and strategies provided.” Comments Helen Woodford, Headteacher at Crynallt
Primary school “The project has also helped to raise awareness of this issue in Neath Port Talbot schools. We’ve established a Language and Play group at Crynallt for foster carers and children from 0-3 years old. By working together, in partnership with Tata Steel, we can make a real difference to the lives of looked after children throughout the local authority.”
“Before being approached to donate towards the STAR project, I had no idea that the attainment gap between looked after children and their peers was so marked. Tata Steel firmly believes that every child should have equal opportunity to learn and through our Future Generations programme I’m happy that we have been able to make this donation and provide the packs to families in our local area” adds Nia Singleton, Community Liaison Manager in Wales for Tata Steel.
Tata Steel is committed to supporting the community local to its sites across Wales and regularly makes donation to community groups, charities and youth clubs under its Future Generations community partnership programme.