From education to employment

Newham Council and West Ham Establish Summer School for Deprived Youth

Other than the Jubilee line extension and the much needed financial investment that Newham will receive as one of the five London boroughs to play host to the 2012 London Olympics, the region has little celebrate. Newham is classified as the third most deprived borough in the country with a third of households subsisting on less than £10,400 per year, one of highest unemployment rates in Great Britain and is dominated by imposing grey tower blocks and characterless streets.

With little of historical, architectural or cultural interest in the borough, concerns have been expressed about how the region’s youth spend their time when not at school. With a view to addressing these concerns, Newham Council’s Learning Community Services, in association with West Ham Football Club, have launched a new summer school programme as an extension of their involvement with the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) Playing for Success programme.

Playing For Success

The DfES initiative establishes out of school hours study support centres at football clubs and other sports grounds. The centres use the environment and the medium of sport as motivational tools, and focus on raising literacy, numeracy and ICT standards amongst teenagers who are struggling or demotivated. The Newham / West Ham summer school offers its teenage participants the opportunity to write a football programme by interviewing and researching star players, writing story boards, reviewing matches and learning photography skills.

Bill Rammell Welcomes New Scheme

The scheme, which is designed to support and challenge the boroughs disaffected youth, has been shown to have highly beneficial effects on its participant’s basic skills and was this week welcomed by Education Minister Bill Rammell: “It is important that young people are inspired to read independently and develop their writing skills and that’s why I am pleased to see children being offered such a valuable opportunity to combine learning with their own interests and hobbies.

“This scheme and many similar ones help pupils build their confidence and improve their literacy skills which are crucial in raising standards in all subjects and for equipping pupils with the skills and knowledge they need for life beyond school.”

Ministers are keen to increase the availability of similar programmes throughout the country after The Youth Green Paper, published by the DfES in July, called for greater provision of positive activities for young people.

Michael Lloyd

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