Quest for Learning’s expert staff tutors work with hundreds of disadvantaged children in Oxfordshire’s primary schools each year. Our activities include our ReadingQuest and BookQuest programmes which develop reading and writing skills alongside fostering a love of books and NumSkills which supports the development of mental maths skills.
For more than 20 years, we’ve inspired children to become enthusiastic, independent learners, while also consistently having a measurable impact on academic outcomes. In just six weeks, children working with our tutors make an average of 15 months’ progress in reading accuracy, 9 months’ progress in writing, and 20 months’ progress in reading comprehension. This helps to bridge the attainment gap between children from low-income homes and their peers, levelling the playing field.
However, the impact of our programmes stretches far beyond just instilling an enjoyment of learning or improving reading and maths ability. Literacy and numeracy are fundamental to children’s ability to engage with the rest of their education at primary school and beyond, and we know that low levels of literacy and numeracy are strongly correlated with poor academic attainment, poor employment prospects, poor mental health, and criminal behaviour in later life.
The next 5000
We are immensely proud to have made a difference to these five thousand children. However, we know that the need is still high. Research has shown that, nationally, almost half of children from low-income families cannot read properly by the time they leave primary school, and, locally, one in five of Oxford’s children are living in poverty.
A 2019 Oxfordshire County Council report found that the attainment gap between children eligible for free school meals and their peers is widening locally, despite decreasing nationally. Simply put, children from the poorest families in Oxfordshire are being left further behind their school friends than elsewhere in the country and we don’t think that’s ok.
We want to ensure that Quest for Learning can continue to play an active part in closing this attainment gap, as well as inspiring a love of learning in the next five thousand children. Our ambition is to continue to roll out our teaching across Oxfordshire, developing long-term, sustainable partnerships with schools in areas of inner-city and rural deprivation so that the children who need our help are able to access it now and in the future.