Picture of Company Crest

Supporting Literacy

At the beginning of his year, the Master indicated that he was keen to support literacy while he was Master and had discussed a few ideas with the Mistress, Sue. The WCA Trust invited the Mistress to submit a proposal and in late 2016, this was accepted. The proposal was to support literacy development and the encouragement of children's reading for pleasure in London schools. The WCA Trust will sponsor a number of author/ illustrator / poet / storyteller visits for disadvantaged pupils in London schools, throughout 2017. This is being organised through Authors Aloud, a nationwide agency in this field. For more information please email the mistress at s.bastone@btinternet.com.

WCA Literacy Project

The first author visit supported by the Company took place on Wednesday 12th July at Loxford School in Ilford. It was important this first visit was a success, and it was brilliantly organised by Authors Aloud who organised Alex Wheatle (not one of their authors) at the request of the school. The Mistress Arbitrator attended workshops given by author Alex Wheatle to Year 9 students, the difficult age when students often become disaffected and are far less likely to read or engage in cultural activity. His books are extremely popular and, keen to make the most of the Company's generosity, the school raised some money to give books to some of the students who could not afford to buy them. Louise Kanolik, the School Librarian, wrote to the Company: "I am writing to thank you so much for funding yesterday's author event with Alex Wheatle. I cannot begin to tell you how inspirational the day was.  During the first session Alex managed to captivate over 300 year 9 students plus about 30 adults with stories about his upbringing and how reading and writing became so important to him.  He ended with the message that every single person is unique, special and possesses a talent.  As you know he subsequently delivered 3 creative writing sessions which he pitched perfectly for the different groups.  The students in each group then went on to develop outstanding pieces of writing, some of which will be read out in the year 9 achievement assembly next week."

And to Alex himself: "Recently we have worked with a group of underachieving boys who were not reading. We gifted them copies of Liccle Bit and it has transformed them.  They all read the book and many have gone on to read others in the series and 'got back into reading'.  It was your book that did it as it seems to speak to them opening them up to ideas about life choices, relationships and much more."

The sixth form media studies students filmed the day and the film will also be available in the autumn. You can find out more about Alex here: www.thesusijnagency.com/AlexWheatle.htm I am delighted with the success of this first visit and will report further as more happen.

Susan Bastone, Mistress, Worshipful Company of Arbitrators