2017/18: A busy year of outreach
Outreach is an integral part of life at Bradfield College. Over many years, we have been able to develop a broad programme of opportunities that allow Bradfield College pupils to make a significant positive impact on the wider community.
Many pupils regularly volunteer off site, staff and expertise are provided to support various institutions and numerous events have allowed hundreds of local people to access the outstanding College facilities.
The 2017 /18 academic year was an impressive one in this regard with a record number of partners, high numbers of young people visiting Bradfield and our volunteering programmes continuing to grow.
Primary Schools Sports Programme
The College runs an extensive Primary Schools Sports Programme throughout the year. These events provide an opportunity for our expanding list of partner state primary schools (currently 25) to come to Bradfield and compete in organised sporting competitions run by our heads of sport, supported by College pupils who act as referees, stewards and marshals.
Competitions include a Mixed Netball Championship, Cross Country Championship, Kwik Cricket Cup and a Mini Tennis Tournament. Last year these events saw over 550 local primary school children compete in sports events at the College, with nearly 100 Bradfield pupils involved in the running of these competitions.
Alongside the sporting provision for our local primary school partners, we run an Exploring Science workshop programme that provides a practical science experience for pupils aged 8 to 11 years old in the Blackburn Science Centre under the guidance of the College’s Science Department.
Last year the programme welcomed 300 local primary school pupils and their class teachers to the College, with 40 of our own Sixth Form pupils supporting College teaching staff in the practical workshops.
In September 2017, we launched the Leadership Academy as an annual outreach initiative. The 20 successful candidates last year all gained a Level One OCN Leadership qualification and as a group volunteered for over 150 hours at Springfield Primary School, Birch Copse Primary School and St Paul’s Catholic Primary School supporting nearly 160 young children aged 5 to 11.
This academic year the project is expanding to five primary schools with the number of young leaders increasing to 40.
The Voluntary Service Programme (VSP)
The Voluntary Service Programme (VSP) is another example of how the College engages with and supports the local community. The VSP is in its third year and provides groups of pupils with the opportunity to volunteer on a weekly basis at the John Simonds Trust, an agricultural educational charity based at Rushall Farm and Ufton Court Educational Trust. 60 pupils supported both establishments in their work in 2017/18.
60 pupils also undertook and achieved the Level l Sports Leaders Award meaning they can volunteer their time to support sports clubs, teams and activities being run in their own local areas.
ABC to Read
ABC (Assisting Berkshire Children) to Read, a paired reading initiative in partnership with some of our local primary schools, has proved highly popular with College pupils and local schools. The scheme is in its fifth year and has gone from strength to strength.
Bradfield pupils are trained to be ‘paired readers’ learning the necessary skills to work with primary school children who have low reading ages. The Bradfield pupils work with these pupils on a weekly basis within their schools encouraging them to read with literacy games and activities, improving their reading proficiency in the process.
Since its inception, the project has trained nearly 150 Bradfield pupils as paired readers.
Apollo 5 Young Leaders Programme
The Apollo 5 Young Leaders Programme sees our trained Bradfield Young Leaders go out into the local community and run music workshops for local primary schools.
These workshops culminate in 100 primary school children from surrounding villages congregating in the College Chapel to perform in ‘The Big Sing’ alongside Apollo 5 and the Bradfield Young Leaders.
The International Baccalaureate CAS Service Day
The International Baccalaureate CAS Service day is undertaken by the whole of the Year 12 IBDP cohort. This annual event sees over 40 Sixth Form pupils work with local organisations ranging from local care homes in Reading to community groups in Thatcham and Ufton Court Educational Trust.
The pupils volunteer their time for the day undertaking tasks ranging from the renovation of buildings and gardening to musical workshops and games with care home residents. On this day Bradfield pupils volunteer 258 hours of community service to local initiatives, and more importantly created links with local groups that we will look to grow.
The outreach programme continues to evolve with an increasing number of pupils considering a global context. This has seen the continuation of the EDCLUB (Encouraging Disadvantaged Children to Learn Using Broadband) initiative. The project involves Bradfield pupils regularly interacting with children in Kenya via Skype and joining in their learning.
Alongside the College’s outreach programme, we continue to raise charitable funds each year for various local, national and international charities both as a College community and individually as boarding houses, staff and pupils with over £23,000 raised last year.
Darren Mitchell, Outreach Coordinator