Education is at the heart of the work of John Lyon’s Charity. In all that we do we seek to raise the aspirations of, and provide opportunities for, all children and young people in the Beneficial Area.
Given this remit, it is natural that schools will often be the destination for many of the Charity’s funded projects. Schools can apply directly to the Charity for various programmes and activities to supplement and enhance the curriculum. However, Arts organisations and voluntary sector groups also frequently make applications to deliver their projects within schools in order to reach as many children and young people as possible. Projects also deliver training opportunities for teachers to create a lasting legacy in that school.
The Charity is interested in supporting projects that seek to increase parental engagement in education and learning as well as projects that seek to unlock a child’s potential and engage them in the learning process, particularly if they are at risk of disaffection. Projects can happen both within the school setting and also outside formal learning environments.
Beauchamp Lodge Settlement – The Floating Classroom
Beauchamp Lodge’s Floating Classroom is a purpose-built barge based in Regent’s Canal, which enables children to navigate the capital’s waterways and green spaces; providing new, educational and fun-filled experiences. Its activities are designed to complement the primary school curriculum through three main programmes: All Aboard for Science, Fantastic Voyage and Floating through History. The Floating Classroom also offers SENsing the Way, a programme specifically designed for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities.
In its most recent year in-grant, 24 local primary schools in Westminster accessed this unusual and engaging activity, benefitting more than 2,000 pupils. John Lyon’s Charity has provided over £180,000 in grants towards the Floating Classroom since 2001.
In 2017, Beauchamp Lodge Settlement was selected to receive a promotional film about its work as part of the JLC Volunteer Films initiative in partnership with Media Trust.
Real Action was established in 1998 to improve the literacy skills of disadvantaged children and families living in and around Queen’s Park in North Westminster. Its Butterfly High Flyers project consists of three Saturday Reading Schools situated to support the Mozart Estate in North Westminster and close to the Ladbroke Grove and Golborne areas of North Kensington.
Referrals to Real Action are spread by word of mouth, due to its highly acclaimed literacy courses. Students are placed in classes according to reading ability, rather than age, with great success. On average is service users’ reading age will increase by 12 months with just 20 hours’ teaching from the Real Action team and volunteers.
In the last year of its grant, Real Action supported more than 400 pupils between its three Saturday schools in the Charity’s Beneficial Area. Since 1999, John Lyon’s Charity has provided £278,000 funding towards Real Action.
In 2017, Real Action was selected to receive a promotional film about its work as part of the JLC Volunteer Films initiative in partnership with Media Trust.
Canons Cluster Parent Ambassador Project
The Parent Ambassador Initiative was set up in 2007 to help parents become engaged in their child’s learning. It was developed as part of the Canons Cluster Extended Schools programme, which promoted extracurricular development and out of schools hours services.
In 2010, John Lyon’s Charity awarded a grant of £27,000 per annum for three years to the Harrow-based cluster to help establish the programme in schools. The project involves parents in all aspects of school-life and gives them a better understanding of the education system. This is achieved by the recruitment of ‘Parent Ambassadors’ who are able to communicate with their fellow parents effectively and in an approachable way.
The project has been very successful in all of the schools in the cluster and has since become embedded into the way each of the schools work. As a result, Parent Ambassadors are now sustained through the schools own incomes.
There are nine schools in the Canons Cluster:
Camrose Primary with Nursery
Stag Lane Infant and Nursery
Stag Lane Junior
St. Bernadette’s Catholic Primary
Woodlands Special School
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Over the past few years, we have been approached by a growing number of organisations seeking funding to run or establish a Forest School in their local area. The increase in grant applications for this purpose acknowledges the value of Forest School as a complement to mainstream education. Contact with the outdoors is often limited for many children, particularly those in inner-city London, and the vital experience of using the outdoors and being comfortable in nature is being lost. The changes implemented by the National Curriculum from September 2014 also recognise the importance of outdoor learning and Forest School is one of the ways in which this can be achieved.
Forest Schools that are currently funded by John Lyons’ Charity are:
Holland Park Ecology Centre
The Ecology Service is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Parks Service and operates from Holland Park. It provides a base for environmental education and a programme of events throughout the borough. In 2011, the Ecology Centre piloted a Forest School in Holland Park. Our funding of £45,000 over three years has helped the Forest School to develop into a thriving and well-used resource that is very popular with local schools and is oversubscribed in the summer months.
Forest School, Harrow
All Saints’ Church, serving the area of Weald in Harrow, is based on a site that includes a small patch of unused woodland. Forest School activities began on the site in September 2012, following a pilot scheme. It works in partnership with Harrow schools and other youth services that support young people, in order to offer them a comprehensive Forest School experience. Participants have included Travellers, refugees, children with learning disabilities, children from Troubled Families, Looked After Children and pupils encountering difficulties in mainstream schools. Our funding of £54,000 over three years helps to pay for the running costs of the Forest School.
Holly Park Primary School, Barnet
In November 2013, we awarded a grant of £18,000 over three years to introduce Forest School methodology into Holly Park Primary School. The Forest School gives children at the school access to a rich outdoor learning experience, ultimately increasing opportunities to stay fit, healthy and emotionally well balanced. Sessions are targeted at all children in Year 1 and Year 3. Additional sessions are offered to those children who find it difficult to work in mainstream education.