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  • Writer's pictureAllen Olayomi

Empowering EAL Students

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Guest blogger Allen Olayomi shares with us the impact of Jacari's partnership with Barton Hill Academy.

Imagine a school buzzing with excitement and laughter, where children thrive, gain confidence, and forge lifelong friendships. This is the transformation that Barton Hill Academy experienced with its partnership with Jacari.

Photo of Barton Hill Academy school in Bristol
Barton Hill Academy school in Bristol

I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with three inspiring individuals: Stella Gradwell, EAL Support at Barton Hill Academy; Katy Isaac, EAL Lead for the Venturers Trust and Jacari Trustee; and Lynne, a passionate Jacari volunteer tutor. Together, we delved into the magic that Jacari brings to the lives of EAL pupils, with a focus on the incredible impact it has had on Barton Hill Academy.

Unveiling the Stories

Stella Gradwell's Perspective:

Stella Gradwell - EAL Lead at Barton Hill Academy Bristol

Stella, who works closely with EAL pupils, expressed her amazement at the positive changes since Jacari's arrival. Through interactive tutoring sessions, the children have found their voices, become more expressive, and improved their reading and writing skills.

"Jacari has created a club-like atmosphere where children can thrive, gain confidence, and forge friendships."

Jacari's approach, filled with game-based activities, creates a relaxed learning environment where pupils can thrive. They are now more involved in their own learning journey, which allows tutors to focus on giving guidance on each pupil’s areas of interest. This child-centred approach helps them break the boundaries of what they think they can achieve.

"The addition of crafts to the learning environment is helping pupils showcase and develop amazing skills and talents."

The creative learning environment fosters a strong sense of accomplishment and empowerment. The best part is that the newfound skills extend beyond reading and writing alone. They spill into other activities like drama and singing, making the pupils truly shine.

Katy Isaac, Jacari Trustee

Katy Isaac's Insights:

Katy, a Jacari Trustee, also shared her admiration for Jacari's impact on the pupils.

Reflecting on Jacari's strengths, Katy said: "It's amazing how the community comes together to help the pupils."

She emphasised the collaborative spirit that underpins Jacari's approach. Everyone involved continues to display a strong dedication to giving these children all the support they need.

"It shows how valuable these children are as the schools, pupils' families, and, of course, the amazing volunteer tutors come together to create a helpful and joyful learning environment."

By harnessing community connections, Jacari creates a learning environment where schools, families, and dedicated volunteers can actively contribute.

She also highlighted the consideration put into pairing tutors and pupils, leading to a more supportive learning environment. The carefully planned pairing of tutors and pupils establishes a nurturing mentor-mentee relationship.

Every detail matters in the match-making process. Jacari understands that considerations like a shared home language can make a huge difference in the relationship and influence the results. The idea behind each pairing is to create a bond that improves engagement and encourages pupils to blossom.

Lynne's Journey:

Jacari tutor Lynne

As a Jacari volunteer tutor, Lynne's experience was nothing short of heartwarming. She recalled joining in February and witnessing the profound impact of Jacari's tutoring sessions.

Describing her volunteering experience, Lynne said:

"Jacari’s approach helps create fun, interactive sessions for the kids outside of more formal classroom interactions."

Her enthusiasm was evident as she explained how the one-on-one approach and game-based learning boosted pupils' confidence in their abilities and allowed them to express themselves with newfound ease.

"Our sessions make them more relaxed, creating a comfortable and safe space for them to learn on their own terms."

Key takeaways — reflecting on the experience

The interviews revealed an underlying theme of empowerment. Jacari's informal and child-centred approach shifted the focus from a formal atmosphere to an engaging and joyful one. The success stories were countless, such as that of a previously withdrawn pupil who brilliantly put together a puppet show thanks to Jacari's guidance.

What truly stood out was Jacari's dedication to meeting the specific needs of EAL pupils. The programme not only eases the pain of the staff shortage gap but also provides the much-needed attention and care these young people deserve. The genuine passion of everyone involved, from teachers to volunteers, makes it such a powerful partnership.

This journey through Jacari's partnership with Barton Hill Academy left us all with a deep appreciation for the impact of collaborative efforts. Witnessing the growth, confidence, and happiness of the pupils was a testament to the power of community-driven education.

Conclusion — let’s break barriers together!

Jacari's tutoring programme has not only transformed the lives of EAL pupils at Barton Hill Academy but also demonstrated the power of community-driven support. Through heartfelt dedication and tailored approaches, Jacari has proven that education goes beyond textbooks and exams. It fosters an environment where children flourish, break barriers, and soar to new heights.

As we share these incredible stories, we invite you to join us in supporting Jacari's mission to empower young people and create a brighter future for all. Together, we can make a lasting impact and pave the way for a more inclusive and compassionate world. Let us stand united and embrace the power of education to transform lives.

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