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Saturday study for Great Yarmouth pupils

PUBLISHED: 09:45 09 February 2009 | UPDATED: 12:58 03 July 2010

YOUNGSTERS in Great Yarmouth are putting in extra hours on their three Rs on Saturdays.

They are students at East Anglia's first supplementary school, a national project run by the right wing social policy think tank Civitas with the aim of increasing skill levels in maths and English.

YOUNGSTERS in Great Yarmouth are putting in extra hours on their three Rs on Saturdays.

They are students at East Anglia's first supplementary school, a national project run by the right wing social policy think tank Civitas with the aim of increasing skill levels in maths and English.

Already running for nine months at the Priory Centre, it will be officially opened and named the David Copperfield School - in recognition of the town's Charles Dickens connection - on a visit on Saturday by Lady Knollys, High Sheriff of Norfolk.

And its early success has already prompted plans for the county's second supplementary school to open in Norwich in April.

Because the independent schools are supported through sponsorship and donations - the Yarmouth one by Norfolk insurance company boss Theodore Agnew - fees can be kept to a minimum.

Dr Jenny Benham, the region's supplementary schools co-ordinator, said: “Because of the low cost, it makes the intensive, one-to-one tuition that we offer accessible to families who could not ordinarily afford independent schools. In Yarmouth parents pay just £9 for a half-term of six three-hour sessions.”

Over the nine months, the Yarmouth class has had a maximum of 13 pupils, aged six to 11, taught by Dr Benham and two other teachers, and also focuses on helping children who maybe struggling at school.

Dr Benham said: “We focus on quality teaching, small class sizes and using no frills, traditional methods. When reading, we work a lot on phonetics and with maths we concentrate on mental arithmetic and basic skills.”

She said the school had already achieved some “remarkable success stories”, highlighting the case of Will Hopkins, 10, whose reading ability had gone up two years in the space of two terms.

Will has dyslexia and dyspraxia and had difficulty in forming letters and writing numbers.

She said: “He has experienced a remarkable improvement and now is really positive and confident he is able to do things.”


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