A LEADING education charity based in Newbury is hoping it will be able to help more of the district’s disadvantaged youngsters after striking up a new partnership with a local business.
BDZ Holdings, located in Oxford Square, Newbury, has teamed up with charity Achievement for All (AfA) to help fund educational programmes in schools across West Berkshire.
The new partnership will see BDZ Holdings fund half of the £6,000 cost for the two-year programmes, which aim to help underachieving pupils and close the attainment gap.
Speaking after the launch of the partnership earlier this month, chief executive and founder of AfA, Professor Sonia Blandford, said the charity was delighted to have secured the deal, particularly at a time when schools are dealing with tighter budgets.
She said: “We work with schools to transform the lives of the most disadvantaged children and young people by improving their progress in reading, writing and maths as well as self-confidence and behaviour.
“We do this by working in partnership with teachers, and involving parents and carers, to break down the barriers to each child’s learning.
“We are so grateful to BDZ Holdings for their enormous generosity in supporting schools in our local area.
“It is a wonderful example of what we can achieve for young people by working in partnership and we encourage schools to make the most of the opportunity.”
Managing director of BDZ Holdings, Bob Rae, said: “As a West Berkshire organisation, we wanted to give something back to the local community by helping underachieving children to flourish and reach their full potential.
“Achievement for All offers a real solution to a real problem. There are more than 80 schools in West Berkshire which could see a real benefit from the Achievement for All schools programme.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing the positive impact it has over the coming months.”
According to AfA there is an average 22-per-cent gap in attainment between children receiving free school meals and their peers across the UK.
The two-year programme is delivered directly into schools with a specialist coach assigned to each school aimed at reducing that gap.
The charity has worked in more than 3,700 early years settings, schools and colleges in England and Wales, including Park House School in Newbury, and offers support programmes designed to raise the achievements of all children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, looked-after children and children vulnerable to poor outcomes.
The new partnership is the first of its kind for the charity.
However, Professor Blandford now hopes to be able to replicate such deals across the UK. The charity founder also hopes to improve links with West Berkshire Council in the new year.
She said: “We do work with other local authorities in different areas of the UK and would love to be in partnership with West Berkshire Council.
“That is certainly something we would hope to progress in 2017.”