In Funding Stories, Life skills, education & employability

Group: Wycombe Multicultural Organisation
Project: Saturday School
Grant:  £5,000
Fund: The Wyke Fund

Since 1997, Wycombe Multicultural Organisation (WMCO) have run a Saturday School service for disadvantaged and vulnerable children aged 5-16 years from primarily African Caribbean. Pupils are targeted from low-income households, who are eligible for free school meals, and through a network of local partnerships.

The school teaches about culture and heritage as well as the national curriculum in English and Maths, helping the pupils to gain a sense of identity and build self-confidence. The demand for the Saturday School is very high and continues to increase. WMCO also saw an increase in need due to the negative impact of Covid-19 and the associated lock downs on children’s education and general wellbeing.

With a grant from The Wyke Fund, WMCO increased their intake of children and provided educational sessions and cultural trips over 20 weeks to 40 pupils. Qualified tutors not only bridged the gaps in lost learning, but also enabled extra-educational support to improve pupil self confidence. Additional educational resources kept the sessions stimulating and varied. The cultural trips helped the children to learn more about their culture and heritage, enhancing their sense of identity. These trips also enabled improved social skills through peer-to-peer interaction. Funding also meant the group could provide pupils with healthy lunches of fruit and snacks.

Thanks to this funding, the Saturday School project has lessened the impact of social isolation on pupils, improved confidence with tutor led educational support, and positively impacted the general health and emotional wellbeing of the pupils.

Research by WMCO showed that 91% of pupils felt the tutoring they received was excellent and 98% said the trips were excellent. Open ended feedback was also encouraged and areas for development were identified, such as more opportunities for creative sessions, performing arts, crafts activities, and music lessons.

Case study

Child A was 9 years old and considered a disadvantaged pupil who had barriers to succeeding in school because of detrimental circumstances beyond their control. This included financial and social hardship within the pupils’ family. The after effects of the COVID-19 were still prevalent as confidence and self-esteem was low.

Child A attended the Saturday School on a weekly basis and despite finding the sessions challenging at first, really found the cultural and heritage activities enjoyable and showed a positive improvement in his attitude. Due to the emotional and wellbeing support provided for targeted vulnerable pupils at the School, Child A now focuses on his learning in class to achieve his full potential and showed improved levels of enjoyment and attitudes towards learning.

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