Inspiring a love of learning in looked after children 

Hull Children’s University – Letterbox Club (UK) 

The charity works to provide children with inspirational learning experiences carefully designed to complement the school curriculum and increase motivation, thirst for knowledge and ambition.

In doing so, Hull Children’s University aim to improve children’s educational attainment and wellbeing, and thus reduce inequality in life chances. They work with volunteers from Hull University, retired teachers, the wider community and local business, and prioritise schools where 50% or more of the children are living in poverty. 

BFSS gave Hull Children’s University a grant of £48,274 over two years for a project with children in care, which aimed tinspire a love of reading and engagement with numeracy in those children who were falling behind their peers. To do this they established a Letterbox Club sending a monthly parcel of books, maths games, stationery and more through the post. For many of these children this will be the first time they have had books of their own. The children, aged 7-11 years, also received onetoone literacy and numeracy sessions with the Letterbox coordinator.  

Project outputs 

  • 38 children supported over two years 
  • 578 Letterbox parcels of books distributed  
  • 630 one-to-one reading sessions  
  • Extracurricular activities, including theatre visits and trips to attractions such as Harry Potter World 
  • 20 foster carers also engaged in supporting progress 

Outcomes 

  • 100% of the children have improved literacy and numeracy and reduced the gap between reading and chronological age 
  • 90% made double expected progress, and 45% made triple expected progress, in accuracy and comprehension  
  • All children also reported greater enjoyment of reading 
  • All have improved confidence and motivation during group activities and social events 
  • Positive feedback from schools, education welfare officers, education psychologists, teachers and teaching assistants engaged with the children 

East Riding Council have agreed to fund the project by covering the coordinator’s salary long-term, making Letterbox Club for the East Riding sustainable, as a result the project has become a core part of the services Hull Children’s University deliver.