The Portico Library and Manchester Secondary PRU

The Portico has been exploring the world of books with students at Manchester Secondary PRU. Workshops at school and visits to The Portico Library, led by Reading Consultant Janet Fitzgerald, have marked the beginning of a wonderful new partnership.

English Teacher, Jay Lanyon talks about the first few sessions:

“The Manchester Secondary PRU is a complex organisation and our students can be complex too. They arrive here often having had a negative experience of education and sometimes with undiagnosed conditions and difficulties with learning. They can be reluctant to engage with traditional ‘lessons’ and teaching styles. It can take a long time, even for a permanent member of the staff team, to build a rapport and establish relationships and learning habits.

When Janet arrived for her first session it became clear quite quickly that we would, in partnership, have to redefine what the objectives would be and reflect together on our expectations for the ‘Reading for pleasure’ project. Janet listened and observed - asking questions and adapting her approach. She talked to staff and students to find a positive way forward and brought great resources to engage the groups. During the third session Janet encouraged students to create posters using the materials she provided… the book review posters helped the students remember books they had enjoyed in the past.

It would have been easy for a less experienced practitioner to have abandoned the project on seeing how non-compliant our young people can be but instead she reflected on their wide range of needs to get something worthwhile out of the sessions. I appreciate the effort being made to open the doors for our students who have frequently missed out on opportunities for enrichment in education.”