135 students volunteer at the twice weekly club which supports younger students to develop their reading skills. Senior student volunteers receive training from their teachers and give up their Wednesday and Friday lunchtimes to partner first and second year pupils. All senior students who manage the scheme are presented for City and Guilds qualification.
Since the club began in 1994, it has grown from a membership of 12 to be the biggest paired reading club in the UK and literacy levels have improved across the school.
The club is going from strength to strength and has built a number of links within the community, including a successful programme that invites elderly volunteers to come into school and take part in the paired reading. The club has been honoured with Gold Award statuses from the National Literacy Trust and The Diana Award.
Castlehead student leaders say taking part in the club has boosted their self confidence and many have begun taking part in a number of speaking events, including presentations to local schools encouraging them to start their own reading clubs, a Renfrewshire Council conference and a question and answer session at The Herald Society Awards in Glasgow.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
I’m delighted to give this award to all the students at Castlehead High School who take part in the reading club.
It’s inspirational to see so many students, teachers and volunteers in the community giving up their lunchtimes to help younger pupils develop a love of reading.
Martin MacDonald, Head Teacher of Castlehead High School, said:
The Paired Reading Club has a massive impact on our pupils in terms of literacy and ethos and I am absolutely delighted that this has been recognised through the Big Society Award.