University of Chester volunteers help school children in Cheshire

From left to right: Harriet Kennet, student volunteer; Daryl Goodwin, Deputy Director at CIS and Sophie Brown, Student Volunteer

Submitted by the University of Chester

A group of student volunteers from a University of Chester help children improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

Students at the University of Chester have used their free time to provide extra help to students in Cheshire West and Wirral who may have experienced disruption to their learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra help is part of the university’s relaunched “Students in School” program, which offers students the help of a student mentor to support their learning.

The University’s volunteer and mentoring team has been facilitating school mentoring for several years, stopping only to place students in schools during the pandemic.

Nine schools across Cheshire West and Chester and Wirral have recently welcomed back nearly 30 student volunteers, who are giving their time to support young people in their studies and learn new skills they can use in their careers.

Through their role as ‘school volunteers’, students help young people, some from disadvantaged backgrounds, the chance to receive extra support and the confidence to succeed.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, students have still donated their time and talents through remote volunteering projects, such as the student-led Bonding through Books project or the one-time Student Scholars initiative.

History student Harriet Kennett said: “As part of this incredible opportunity given to me by the University of Chester, I have managed to gain confidence as well as skills relevant to my teaching career. .

“Having the chance to work one-on-one with students, to influence their learning, provides insight into the teaching and richness of this professional work, while providing me with experience that will enhance my resume.”

Sophie Brown, who is studying for a psychology degree, plans to apply for a PGCE after graduating and said she volunteers at Chester International School, supporting year 11 students on an individual level with their work in English language, gives his valuable experience.

She said: “I have found supporting these students and helping them overcome challenges to be a really rewarding experience and it has been great to see them progress each week. It also allowed me to develop valuable communication and leadership skills and it was great to be able to observe the teachers and better understand the techniques they use to engage and interact with their class.

Jo Morison, volunteer and mentoring officer at the University of Chester, said: “We are so delighted to be able to offer schools in the area the talents and kindness of our students who give their time to help others. Students also learn so much from the students they help and the teachers they support that they can incorporate them into their careers. »

Abbey Peers, IB (International Baccalaureate) Coordinator at Chester International School, said: “The partnership between CIS and the university means that volunteers work with small groups of pupils to provide targeted intervention to ensuring that each student is able to reach their potential, and at the same time allowing volunteers work experience in an educational setting. Volunteers have provided invaluable support to our GCSE students who have been affected by the closures over the past few years. »

For more information on the Bonding through Books project, click here or for the unique Student Scholars initiative, click here.

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