We are proud to work with Bradford based education partners, National Literacy Trust, Leading Children and Chapter One.

Research shows that during the initial school closures in 2020, 3 in 5 children and young people said that reading made them feel better. 3 in 10 said that reading helped them when they feel sad because they cannot see their family and friends.

Because low literacy is intergenerational, our education partners focus their work on families, young people and children.

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Bradford is the fifth largest local authority in England and continues to be an area of high disadvantage, with almost 40% of children living in poverty. In addition, it is a region of high ethnic diversity which results in a high proportion of households that do not have English as their first language. This exacerbates the literacy issues in the area. 

Working with National Literacy Trust

We continue to support National Literacy Trust to continue its place-based approach in this area engaging with the wider community through its Bradford Hub. It also uses the iconic Bradford stories Bus to go into schools and community areas to raise engagement levels around reading. Storytelling, author visits and other activities add excitement and interest for the children, and this has been shown to encourage a love of reading. The initial bus tour went to three inner-city schools in less advantaged neighbourhoods in the Bradford area with local children’s author, Harry Heape. The Bradford Stories Bus tour was part of Harry’s new book launch tour in Bradford where children from the following schools got to meet and spend time with him:

  • Academy at St James
  • All Saints C of E Primary School
  • Carrwood Primary School
  • Girlington Primary School. 

During each visit, the author held inspiring sessions where he read to the children from some of his books and then facilitated a themed activity around it. He encouraged the children to create their own characters and start thinking about writing their own stories. In total the bus reached over 900 Year 3-6 pupils, gifting them each a signed copy of the author’s book as well as other books to take home.

This was also an enriching experience for the adults involved, from Headteachers who have had insights into new texts and materials which their children enjoy, to the authors and publishers who have been so touched and witnessed a growing influence of their work on children in Bradford. However, the most enriching experience has been with the children and young people who have been able to delve into the fantasy and adventure of books. This has really helped them to learn about the joy that reading can bring to them, which will in turn lead to improvements in literacy. 

“The staff and children who visited the bus during the day were in awe; they loved the sessions with Harry Heape and they were all so inspired to read his book that they even chose to read it at playtime. Lots of gorgeous books were kindly gifted to the children, many of whom don’t have any books of their own. The children in Reception couldn’t wait to show their books and magazines to their families at the end of the day. We all just had the best day ever and we very much look forward to more visits in the future”. 

Laura Hughes Assistant Headteacher Carrwood Primary School


Working with Leading Children 

Through our partnership with education consultancy, Leading Children, we have supported the development and delivery of a Reciprocal Reading training programme to teachers at local schools in the Bradford area. This programme helps teachers to improve the quality of their teaching and uses specialist strategies to help children who might be a little slower to grasp some concepts to feel more engaged in lessons.

This not only builds confidence but also ensures engagement and therefore learning. In 2022, teachers from the following primary schools were involved in the project:

  • All Saints Primary, Bradford
  • Green Lane Primary, Bradford
  • Killinghall Primary, Bradford
  • St. Mary’s Middleton, Leeds
  • St. Mary’s Riddlesden, Keighley

All (100%) Nursery and Reception teachers felt that their ability in terms of teaching literacy had improved and reported seeing a huge difference in children’s independent writing, despite having had so much time off school. In key stages 1 and 2 every school took on board Reciprocal Reading as part of their teaching of reading comprehension. Again all teachers (100%) felt their ability in relation to teaching literacy had improved and in doing so the children had also improved.


Working with Chapter One

Working with Chapter One - who believe that the ability to read is the fundamental skill that underpins every child’s future educational attainment and helps them to fulfil their potential, to contribute to their community and ultimately to gain employment. Its core reading programme, which uses a unique, online platform to pair volunteers with children in need of reading support, has been proven to improve the reading enjoyment, ability and confidence of children from disadvantaged communities.

Chapter One volunteers use a bespoke internet platform and a voice connection to link – from their workplace or home – to a dedicated classroom laptop for 30 minutes a week, during the school day, over an entire academic year. The web-based platform offers a library of 250 stories organised according to ability and a range of fun, engaging activities that keep even the most reluctant readers engaged.

During 2022, Vanquis Banking Group volunteers supported 13 children through the Chapter One programme at;

  • Earlsmead Primary School in London
  • Horton Park Primary School
  • Lapage Primary School in Bradford.

As a consequence, children have benefited from 107 hours of one-to-one reading time and (for those receiving support for the 2021/22 academic year) progressed by 3.3 levels in their reading.

"Chapter One supports the children of Horton Park Primary School by helping them to feel confident about their reading. The tutors support the children by encouraging their prosody and fluency as well as the accurate reading of words and sounds. The children look forward to their session and building a fantastic relationship with their tutors. It enables the children to feel confident in their reading ability and their achievements in reading".

Laura Naylor Deputy Head Teacher Horton Park Primary School, Bradford.