On the road to progress – Jack’s journey on the WLZ programme

  • Jack was identified for the West London Zone programme in Year 2, as a result of being below reading age expectations and having low school attendance 
  • He was linked to specialised support organisations, which helped him to build his confidence and literacy skills 
  • While Jack has some way to go, he had taken those first steps to believing in himself, with a happier and more positive attitude towards school, academics, and his own abilities

Jack was a creative child, with a sociable and bubbly character. However, he lacked self-confidence, struggling when he found things difficult but also found it a challenge to identify when he was doing well. 

Thanks to a combination of teacher insights, and the West London Zone Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire – a wellbeing measurement tool that helps to identify children struggling with their social and emotional wellbeing – Jack was identified for the programme when he was in Year 2. He was also below age related expectations in his reading and writing, and had low attendance, all compounded by his lack of self-confidence. An early intervention programme like West London Zone could be key to unlocking his potential.

Linking Jack to specialised literacy support

All the children on the programme have a Link Worker, who not only act as a mentor and champion, but also create and facilitate a personalised two-year programme of support. Jack’s Link Worker was Ragavi, who immediately took the time to invest in Jack, to get to know him, his interests and his challenges. Ragavi knew that the priority was to support him with his English and his confidence, but she also recognised the need to build a strong relationship between his family and the school to improve his attendance. 

Jack worked closely with Children's Literacy Charity to improve his literacy confidence

West London Zone work with a number of local Delivery Partners who provide specialised support – from academic tuition to confidence-building drama workshops. Ragavi organised for Jack to attend English tutoring sessions through one such partner, The Children’s Literacy Charity, who aim to close the literacy gap and enable all young people to achieve their potential. Through his twice weekly one-to-one sessions, Jack’s reading skills improved – which in turn helped him grow his confidence within the classroom. Indeed, he soon made huge progress. After three terms of attending these sessions Jack had improved from his original baseline results to be eight months ahead of his chronological reading age, with an increase of four reading levels and an improved spelling score, from 14 to 29.

Building Jack’s confidence

During the national lockdown, Ragavi worked hard to support Jack in his progress, working together on weekly challenges and regularly checking in with his family. Not only did this maintain a consistent approach to his improved reading and writing skills, but also fostered a strong relationship between Jack, his family and the school. 

Alongside his academic focus, Ragavi also wanted to continue to build Jack’s confidence in a variety of ways. For example, he linked Jack to other specialist support partners; Kite Studios, who empower young people through creativity and after-school art sessions, and And Circus, who encourage children to be bold and try new things in a circus setting.


And Circus & Kite Studios support confidence building and encourage teamwork

Of course, these sessions do so much more than what they set out to do, such as teaching team-building, communication, socialising, and managing behaviour and expectations. And Circus sessions in particular showed Jack that he could listen to instructions – important when learning how to balance on a giant ball – as well as to work well with his peers, helping him to form healthy relationships that would have positive repercussions elsewhere.

Jack’s on the road to progress

By the end of his two-year programme, Jack still had a long way to go academically, but had made huge strides in his journey of progress, with improved attendance and a more positive attitude – he was in a vastly different position than at the start of the programme. 

His tutor at The Children’s Literacy Charity expressed that he had developed a great interest in reading and he could maintain his focus throughout the whole book, which he struggled with at the beginning. His class teacher also reflected that he was more able to stay focused throughout lessons, and was much more engaged and positive about his learning. She also mentioned that having previously struggled with issues in the playground with peers, Jack had since developed a good group of friends and showed strong teamwork skills and greater confidence in himself.

Thanks to an early intervention approach, and the joining up of resources that West London Zone focus on, Jack had been shown that his potential was attainable. With a new outlook on learning he is now better positioned to continue progression at school.

*Name changed and images unrelated

together, every child and young person can flourish.