Press Releases

Students honoured for their community spirit – University of Reading

Release Date : 18 June 2004

teacher in classroomGenerous students who have gone to 34 local schools to help children and teachers in the classroom will receive certificates at a special ceremony on Wednesday 23 June for helping to maintain the University's longstanding tradition of supporting the local community. Professor Gordon Marshall CBE, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, will present the certificates to the 136 students who participated in the Community Service Volunteers 'Learning Together' scheme and completed at least 10 periods of tutoring in the last year. A special prize will be awarded to third year English student Adam White, who has been nominated as outstanding volunteer of the year. Adam, 20, has been a volunteer in each of his three undergraduate years and was nominated for the special prize by Mrs Jane Haysom, the Deputy Head at Hillside Primary School, Lower Earley. The guest speaker at the ceremony will be Mr Andrew Daykin, Director of Education and Community Services at Reading Borough Council, and representatives of the education departments of Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell and West Berkshire Councils will also be present. "It is always a great pleasure for me to attend this ceremony and show these community-spirited students that their efforts are greatly appreciated," said Professor Marshall. "The University greatly values its thriving relationship with the people of Reading and the CSV students make a major contribution to keeping that relationship strong. "The Learning Together scheme is beneficial for student volunteers and school pupils alike. Students gain valuable experience from helping others to learn and improve their interpersonal skills, while raising the aspirations of the pupils and encouraging them to go on to higher education." This year was one of the most successful for the scheme, with 175 volunteers from the University of Reading, Witan International College and Randolph-Macon Woman's College placed in schools, giving a total of more than 2,500 hours of voluntary help. Around 25% of volunteers were from abroad coming from 12 different countries, with one Shona speaker and one Mandarin speaker both travelling to Bracknell schools to give one-to-one support to students who had recently joined the English educational system. Learning Together has been a wonderful experience for school pupils, students and teachers. "I could see that the school students were encouraged by the fact that I was a student myself," said one tutor, who volunteered at The Willink Secondary School. "Being closer to their age I think they felt comfortable with me and were more willing to listen and learn." A Whiteknights Primary School Year 1 teacher said: "My tutor's presence enhanced the curriculum for art as I was able to plan more ambitiously knowing help was available. I would welcome having student tutors again." A Reading Girls' School language teacher added: "The volunteers were helpful, pleasant, committed and conscientious. We greatly appreciated the time that they spent with us." Of the 34 institutions that received student tutors, 15 were primary schools, 15 were secondary schools, two were special schools, and two were other institutions. The geographical spread stretched from Burghfield Common to the west of Reading, to Sonning in the east and Bracknell to the south. This took us to schools in 4 LEA areas - Reading, West Berkshire, Wokingham and Bracknell Forest. End The media are welcome to attend the ceremony. Please arrive at 4.15pm for the 4.30pm ceremony on Wednesday 23 June. The event takes place in the Blue Room, Park House, University of Reading Whiteknights campus. Please confirm attendance with Craig Hillsley, the University's press officer. Tel: 0118 378 7388, e-mail:


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