THE AVENUES SATURDAY HOMEWORK CLUB
The Avenues Youth Project in Queens Park, London W10 has a Saturday Homework Club whose sessions supporting young people with their learning have provided a valuable opportunity for local residents. Their teacher support services give young people access to members of staff who can effectively help them with maths and English. They received funding from Age Unlimited, and here is their Autumn 2015 report.
It has been a hive of activity for the young people and teaching staff at the Avenues Youth project Homework Club.
To date, we have 42 young people registered with us with 27 young people attending regularly. Overall things have been very busy at and in general the Homework Club is full almost every Saturday.
At the end of the academic year we were able to work with young people to raise their literacy and numeracy levels. This was achieved through focused learning which involves the preparation of resources such as bespoke worksheets for those children that we identified as struggling.
An example of this would be Patrick (names have been changed for the purpose of this report) joined us in December 2014. He was in Year 6 and after completing his initial assessment with us (assessments include a very basic maths, English and reading test) we identified that Patrick was not working at the level that he should be for his age.
Patrick was 11 years old and had the reading ability of a 6 year old. In addition to this our assessment identified that Patrick had very low levels across the board. We asked to meet with his mother to see if she knew that her son had some specific learning difficulties. When mum came in to meet with us she really struggled to communicate with the lead teacher as she was EAL (English as an additional language). Patrick’s mother explained that most of the time her son spends out of the class because he has behavioural problems, she also went on to explain that she is worried about her son's transition into secondary school. After having this discussion it was agreed that the lead teacher would email the school to ask them for more details on Patrick in order to develop a partnership that would enhance his overall learning.
Unfortunately, the school did not respond in the way in which we had hoped, but we provided Patrick’s mother with information and support around having Patrick assessed for an educational health plan (formally known as a statement). The result of this was that Patrick was diagnosed as having ADHD and qualified for the additional support that he would need when he moved onto secondary school.
At the Homework club the young people are at the forefront of all that we do, however, we also acknowledge that it is important to create dialogue with parents in order for the work that has been set for the young people to be completed.
During the past year we have developed strong relationships with parents, resulting in the advancement of several young people who have successfully progressed into higher teaching sets at school.
Parents have commented that without the club their child/children would not have been able to complete some of the complexed projects that they have been set. This is due to the resources that are needed, but are not available to some of the young people.
Parents have acknowledged that a service like the Homework Club that offers numeracy and literacy support along with resources and the use of a printer and computers is usually very expensive and is something that is needed, but they could never afford to pay for it.
Within Queens Park there are lots of parents who are EAL (English as an additional language) who are unable to support their child’s learning, so the Homework Club provides them with the assurance that not only is their child completing homework and studying to improve their existing grades, but it's being done in a nurturing and safe environment.
Our most recent star is a young girl named Karen (name has been changed for the purpose of this report) that has now entered ks4, when she came to us she was shy and not very confident about her learning or socialising with her peers. This has now changed and Karen has blossomed into a confident young girl that is happy to help others with their work. Karen has said that this is due to her grades getting better, and the fact that now that she understands that she used to be a solitary learner (preferring to study alone) which has now changed to her being a social learner which makes learning in class with others a lot easier. Karen acknowledges that this change in her has contributed to her not only improving her grades, but has enabled her to make new friends.
"I like coming to club because it helps me to understand my school work better. The teacher doesn’t always have time to explain things to me but at club the teachers can explain what needs to be done until I get it."
TJ – aged 14
"The Avenues Homework Club has my 110% backing. Both of my children have attended the sessions for the past year and have made a substantial improvement in both English and Maths. The mixture of formal learning and play really works. The staff are great and I would recommend this service to anyone."
Mrs Mohammed – parent
"My mum likes homework club better than me, but I really like all the things we get to do if we complete our work. Coming to the homework club has helped me with my reading and even though the teachers are strict they do help me with some really hard stuff."
Melanie aged 12