Pupils from Pontyclun Primary School have boosted their maths skills and gained new confidence in numeracy by buddying up with volunteers from Arthur J. Gallagher’s team in Llantrisant for a 10-week scheme.
The team of eight enthusiastic volunteers travelled to the school each week to undertake one-to-one sessions with pupils. Together they played educational and interactive games designed to build confidence, numeracy skills, concentration and verbal expression as part of the National Number Partners programme, which supports seven to 14-year olds across the UK. The Gallagher scheme was the first Number Partners programme to take place in Wales, but follows successful programmes run by Gallagher volunteers in both London and Bournemouth.
Bethan Davies, teacher at Pontyclun Primary School, emphasised the positive impact the initiative has had on the children: “Each pupil was selected for a different reason, but the commonality between all of them was their dislike and lack of confidence in maths. The volunteers were fantastic with their paired pupils, and it was lovely to see not only the pupils’ confidence and ability growing, but also the relationships and rapport with the volunteers who all brought bags of enthusiasm on every visit. The pupils absolutely loved it.”
And it wasn’t only the children that gained a lot from the initiative — as Emily Cronin, one of the eight-strong team of volunteers from Arthur J. Gallagher, explains: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time volunteering as a number partner and the time we’d spend with the pupils became the highlight of my week. To be able to help these children not only improve their maths skills but also see them develop their self-confidence and find their voice in group games was truly rewarding. I have learnt new skills by taking part and am thankful for the opportunity.”
Avantika Taneja, project manager for numeracy and financial literacy at Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership, which runs Numbers Partners, added: “It’s great to see the team from Gallagher Wales continuing the already-established tradition of Gallagher volunteering for Number Partners in other areas of the UK, forming a new and reciprocal relationship with Pontyclun Primary School to boost children’s motivation in numeracy and expose them to adults in the world of work.
“From the outset, it was clear that the volunteers already had strong local ties, with one of them having attended the primary school as a child. While the initial volunteer training revealed a few adults to be slightly anxious about the maths methods currently used in schools, the scheme quickly evolved to smiles and sums on both sides of the equation — with both volunteers and children growing in confidence and forming lovely relationships built around making maths fun. We are delighted that the committed Gallagher volunteers have made our first scheme in Wales such a success, and we hope it paves the way for other schools and businesses to get involved.”
Arthur J. Gallagher actively encourages its employees to participate in volunteering within the local communities they support, with employees able to take up to three paid working days each year. In Wales it employs 150 people across five offices, the largest being its Llantrisant centre of excellence in the heart of the country.